1933 — The USS Akron crashes in the Atlantic

The USS Akron was a helium-filled rigid airship of the U.S. Navy which was the world’s first purpose-built flying aircraft carrier, carrying F9C Sparrowhawk fighter planes which could be launched and recovered while she was in flight. With an overall length of 785 ft (239 m), the Akron and her sister airship the Macon were among the largest flying objects ever built, and the largest ever helium-filled airships.

The USS Akron was destroyed in a thunderstorm off the coast of New Jersey on the morning of 4 April 1933. Strong winds forced the ship down so low that its lower fin contacted the Atlantic, drawing the rest of the ship after it. In rough seas, the ship soon broke up, killing 73 of the 76 crewmen and passengers, the greatest loss of life in any known airship crash.

Referenced in:
The Crash of the Akron — Bob Miller