Goodyear Spirit of Safety – Click above to watch the video after the jump

The Goodyear blimp "Spirit of Safety" erupted into flames and crashed on Sunday, claiming the life of pilot Michael Nerandzic. According to reports, the vessel began emitting fuel fumes as it came in to land at the Reichelsheim aerodome outside of Friedberg, Germany. Nerandzic ordered his three passengers, all journalists, to jump from the blimp from a height of around six feet. With the weight of the passengers gone, the dirigible shot approximately 150 feet into the air before bursting into flames and crashing back down.

The ship was filled with non-flammable Helium, though photos and video of the incident show the gondola and engines aflame.

Goodyear leased "Spirit of Safety" from Lightship Europe for advertising purposes along with a second vessel, which has been grounded since the incident. In a statement, the tire manufacturer said that neither it nor Lightship Europe could comment on the possible causes of the accident at this time. Click past the jump to watch a report from, one of the outlets aboard the vessel during the incident.

UPDATE: A representative from Goodyear contacted us with the following information: "This airship is not one of our 3 US ships and is a totally different kind of airship. It is owned and operated by Lightship Europe Limited. The airship was one of two chartered by Goodyear from LEL for marketing purposes in Europe."

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      That pilot is a hero. RIP good sir.
      • 4 Years Ago
      RIP cptn. badass!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Andre Neves
      • 4 Years Ago
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Andre Neves
        A self-sacrifice that you don't see too much of anymore, outside of the military. Rest in peace.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Without reading further articles, I am sure the pilot knew what would happen when they all three passengers jumped out (I assume together). Putting their safety ahead of his and going down with the ship.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I don't understand why there wasn't some sort of (helium) dump valve. If the passengers jumped off, then of course the craft would be more bouyant. Why wasn't there a dump valve for helium to bring it back down quickly? There used to be dump valves on the huge airships of the 20s and 30s. As well as ballast dumps. There's got to be more to this story than meets the eye.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What an honorable thing to do........
      Shane Gardner
      • 4 Years Ago
      He might of kept himself on the ship in hopes of making sure it did not crash into anything. Also to maintain some control while the passengers dismounted.
      • 4 Years Ago
      So I don't quite understand why the pilot wasn't able to jump out at the same time or a few seconds after the passengers. Either way, a pretty brave individual.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I saw this airship flying over my hometown Bad Nauheim 2km away from Friedberg only minutes befor it went into flames, one of my employeese has a house next to the field the airship went down she saw it burning and going down :(
      • 4 Years Ago
      probably had an air colled VW engine. I would not be surprised a bit
      • 4 Years Ago
      First i thought the naming of the airship was awesomely ironic. Then again its just doing what german airships do best.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Oh the humanity!!!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Show a little respect. The pilot was loved one to family and friends.
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