L2 Official Statement
Official statement about the crash of the Naval Airship L2 (Zeppelin LZ 18)
The Naval Airship “L 2” was in a test drive ratio since its acquisition by the Navy and should rise 8 clock this morning for a brief, in the conditions of acceptance designated, altitude drive from Johannisthal.
On board were of the
The Commander, the Marine engineer and 13 men;
furthermore the Admiralty:
The airship decrease Commission, consisting of an officer,
two higher construction officers, a marine engineer and three technical secretaries;
from the Zeppelin shipyard:
an airship captain, one engineer and two technicians;
furthermore a captain lieutenant as commander student and an army officer as a guest.
All in all 28 persons.
To compensate the through the acceptance personnel of navy and shipyard caused excess weight, there were five persons of the normal crew and also the following items of equipment left behind: All outbord parts and the transmitter of the radio device, headlights and armour.
Shortly after 8 clock in the morning, the ship was taken out of the hall and rised after careful testing of all parts, especially the engines, and after the exchange of a blasting machine in the rear pod at 10 to 16 minutes in the morning. It soon reached an altitude of about 200 meters.
At 10 clock 19 min was observed by reliable people that during the first third of the front engine car between the car and the shell was a sheaf of flames arised, which first took the bow to the tip on fire. The fire spread quickly from the rear and destroyed the outer shell. For a brief moment, the rear gas cells were visibly uninjured, but were then also taken from the fire.
In at most two or three seconds, the whole ship was engulfed in flames and an explosion was heard from about 700 yards away. At the same time the airship lowered and fell first horizontally, then slowly with the head inclined downward quickly to about 40 meters from the ground. Here a second explosion took place, which was, judging by the black smoke, probably stemmed from gasoline. When impinging on the ground a third, but weaker explosion happened. The skeleton came crashing down.
The ground crew of the Navy airship department ran at the double to the about 700 yards away, at Rudower Chaussee situated place of accident. Here, crews of a in the vicinity practicing pioneer department had already arrived. With these, the rescue operations have been started. Medical personnel were there immediately. After a short time appeared the fire department of Johannistal and several ambulance automobiles of the General Electric Company (AEG). Of the occupants of the airship, two men, lying outside the debris, were found alive; from the ruins the severely wounded Lieutenant Baron von Bleuel was freed. All the other 25 inmates who were found gradually in the wreckage, gave no sign of life from them.
Of the three survivors one died at the accident site, the second died during transport to the hospital Britz, where Lieutenant Baron Bleuel as the only remaining survivor is still layed low with perilous burns.
The others located in the airship were still during the crash or at least on impact killed, because most dead showed except burns serious injuries of the trunk and spine, as well as skull fractures.
The accident site was immediately cordoned off and guarded military. From the observations results at first, that the cause of the accident must be sought in an inflammation, which did not originate in the interior of the airship, but at or above the front engine car. It will be tried to get through accurate studies of the remnants of the original cause further details.
The Navy is faced with in a short time a new, serious accident that has robbed them of their newest airship. She mourns the death of many brave men who gave their lives for their country.