Hindenburg vs Titanic: Survival Rates

The Hindenburg disaster is often compared with the sinking of the Titanic, and there is a common misconception that the Hindenburg crash was more deadly.  In fact, the opposite is true.

titanic-hindenburg

Only 32% of those on the Titanic’s maiden voyage survived the sinking.  For certain groups of people, such as Third Class passengers and crew, the survival rate was even lower, and Second and Third Class men fared even worse; only 10% of Second Class men (15 of 157) and 14% of Third Class men (69 of 476) survived the sinking.

In contrast, the majority of passengers and crew on the Hindenburg’s last flight survived the disaster (which was not caused by the flammability of the Hindenburg’s covering, which is another misconception).

Survival Rate on Hindenburg

On Board Survived Died Percent Survived
Passengers 36 23 13 64%
Crew 61 39 22 64%
Total 97 62 35 64%

 

 

Survival Rate on Titanic

Figures for the Titanic tragedy differ slightly among various sources, but the numbers presented by the United States Senate Inquiry are generally representative:

On Board Survived Died Percent Survived
1st Class 329 199 130 60%
2nd Class 285 119 166 42%
3rd Class 710 174 536 25%
Passengers 1,324 492 832 37%
Crew 899 214 685 24%
Total 2,223 706 1,517 32%
Titanic survival rates as determined by Unites States Senate Inquiry (click to enlarge)

Titanic survival rates as determined by United States Senate Inquiry (click to enlarge)

A comparison of the two disasters reflects poorly on the officers of Titanic.

The Hindenburg disaster lasted about half a minute and survival was largely a matter of chance.

R.M.S. Titanic, on the other hand, took almost two and a half hours to sink and the ship remained level for much of that time.  If Titanic’s officers had acted with more competence and professionalism, there could have been an orderly evacuation, but instead many lifeboats were less than half full when launched and “women and children first” was interpreted by at least one officer as “woman and children only.” Given the shortage of lifeboats carried by Titanic, tragedy on a large scale was unavoidable, but an orderly evacuation — taking full advantage of the lifeboats’ capacity to hold 1,178 persons — would have saved almost 500 additional lives.

Titanic and Hindenburg: Similarities and Differences

People often compare Titanic and Hindenburg, but the two passenger ships had little in common. Read more about their similarities and differences.

Titanic Hindenburg Comparison

 

 

 

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Lewis Klein
Lewis Klein

I was 9 yrs.old when the Hindenberg flew over me while I was waiting for some friends to join me to play baseball on a field close to the Phila. Museum of Art. I didn’t see it until I heard its “putt putt” motors right over me. It was huge.… Read more »

Konstantine

It is so strange that the notion that hydrogen airships, and airships in general are very unsafe has stayed until the 21st century! I think that if a plane crashed when they were first being made people would think they were unsafe (Which they were back then) but eventually they… Read more »

Dagmara Lizlovs
Dagmara Lizlovs

Dan: I just came upon an article that there is a call to consider the priest on board the Titanic, Father Thomas Byles for sainthood. I would have posted under the blog article on Ken Marschall’s Titanic and Hindenburg paintings; however, that article is dated from November 2013. Father Byles… Read more »

Chuck
Chuck

Also, both The Titanic and Hindenburg disasters preceded a world war by a few short years. World Wars I and II respectively.

Lou
Lou

After the Titanic disaster they didn’t stop building oceanliners. So why after the Hindenburg did they cancel airship travel? People don’t stop flying after an airplane crash. I’d love to see a return of the zeppelin. With much more advanced technology it should be safer. Fill it with hydrogen, I’d… Read more »

Jackson
Jackson

I’d do it with helium instead

no name
no name

helium is also highly flamable

Tristan

The hindenburg was filled with hydrogen and thats why it caught on fire

Johnny
Johnny

No it didn’t. The Hindenburg burst into flames when a spark jumped from the outer skin to the metal build, igniting leaking Hydrogen from a gas cell that was ripped when a bracing wire snapped due to the captain’s sharp turns during landing.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn

With the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic …my thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims and the survivors….may they all rest in peace…….sorry i mispelled peace…..

Andrew
Andrew

Also you’re being very unfair. Titanic has 2,200 while the Hindenberg had about 200. So numbers are a bit skewed. Also it is true it took the ship 2 hours and 40 minutes to sink. However We have to take out about 40 minutes to find out what was going… Read more »

Jackson
Jackson

Hindenburg had 92

unknown
unknown

The Hindenburg had 97 people aboard. All percentages are out of 100, so the numbers are totally okay.

John
John

In fairness to the officers, many passengers very foolishly refused to get into the lifeboats.

nate evans
nate evans

interesting facts thanks

Melanie
Melanie

What does it mean when it says “In fact, the opposite is true.”
Also, what was the loss of property in the disaster? because i could not find it.

Brandi
Brandi

Melanie,

It means the people who think the Hindenburg was more deadly than the Titanic are wrong. The survival rate on the Titanic was only 32%, where as the survival rate of the Hindenburg was 64%.