The pilot of a Goodyear blimp was killed over the weekend when the blimp burst into flames and crashed in Reichelsheim, Germany.
The engines of the four-seater airship, owned and operated by Lightship Europe Ltd., caught fire about 8:30 p.m. (local time) as it was coming in to land at the Reichelsheim aerodrome near Frankfurt. The Australian pilot helped the three passengers on board all journalists jump to safety when the blimp was roughly six feet from the ground. He then took the airship back up about 50 meters into the air before it became overwhelmed by flames and crashed to the ground.
The crash occurred after the airship had made a round trip for the journalists to take photos of the state of Hessen.
Goodyear said the pilot’s relatives have been informed, and that there were no injuries to passengers or ground crew.
“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the crew member, and also with our colleagues and the passengers involved with the airship tour in Germany,” the tiremaker said in a statement. “The airship is one of two leased by Goodyear from Lightship Europe Ltd. for marketing purposes in Europe. The second airship has been withdrawn from service until further notice.
“As is customary in incidents involving aircraft, the aviation and local authorities have initiated an investigation,” Goodyear continued. “Goodyear and Lightship Europe Ltd can not speculate on causes.”