The Daily Need

Photo: Hero pilot saves passengers

A Goodyear blimp crashes in western Germany, on June 12, 2011. Photo by AFP/Getty Images

It starts out like the “Miracle on the Hudson”: An aircraft in trouble, a quick-thinking pilot and passengers who walked away from certain disaster. But unlike the story of US Airways Flight 1549, which crash landed into the Hudson River two years ago, this story has a sadder ending.

The pilot of a Goodyear blimp that caught fire and crashed at an airfield in Reichelsheim, Germany, last Sunday is being hailed as a hero. Michael Nerandzic, an experienced airship pilot with more than 18,000 hours of experience, and his passengers realized there was something wrong with the Goodyear blimp they were riding in when they heard a loud noise from the engine and smelled fuel.

Nerandzic brought the troubled ship, called The Spirit of Safety, down to about 6 feet off of the ground so his passengers, three journalists, could jump to safety. The blimp then quickly rose up approximately 165 feet in the air, caught fire and subsequently crashed, killing the pilot. Nerandzic’s wife, Lyndy, told Australia’s ABC Sydney that her husband knew the ship would rise up after the loss of the passengers weight, and that rescue workers found him still at the controls after the ship had crashed. He had apparently tried to steer the ship away from ground crews as it went down.

Tomorrow would have been Michael Nerandzic’s 53rd birthday. What caused the accident in the first place is being investigated but findings may not be available for several weeks.

 
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Comments

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000004669978 Cheryl Johnson

    RIP Michael Nerandzics – a hero.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joseph.buckless Joseph Buckless

    Ok so why not jump out too?  If it rises up with out the weight of a few passengers, then one more person jumping out would not exactly counteract that would it. Im sure people would be smart enough to move away from a falling and burning craft… just saying.  Suck he died and he did a great thing saving those people, but he didnt have to die.

  • ddeggz

    That is so sad that Michael Nerandzics died, he is a hero! A crashing, burning, aircraft of any sort is really hard for a crowd of people to run away from.

  • Wing_et

    He stayed in the aircraft to control its direction as it crashed.  Had he jumped as well, the aircraft could have gone into any direction, killing more people in the process, burning homes, etc.  A blimp moves at a higher rate of speed than one might think, plus the falling debris, etc.  He sacrificed himself to potentially save others on the ground. 

  • Alesia8213

    So sad.  At least  his family has been blessed with knowing that he was a true hero.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1407012022 Andrea DeRosbil-Chatman

    Michael Nerandzic = HERO!  R.I.P.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1407012022 Andrea DeRosbil-Chatman

    Michael Nerandzic = HERO!  R.I.P.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1407012022 Andrea DeRosbil-Chatman

    Michael Nerandzic = HERO!  R.I.P.

  • Toddg1112

    I’m not a pilot buy I imagine he couldn’t control the blimp to bring it down to a few feet and abandon ship at the same time.

  • http://twitter.com/ThePriss April Coble

    “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

    May you rest well, Michael Nerandzic. Very few people are willing to sacrifice their lives to save others.

  • Dixie Smith

    Hero!

  • Heystefany

    Absolutely. Doesn’t anyone remember the Hindenburg?

  • Woody

    Blimps have helium which doesn’t burn or explode.

    We refused to sell any helium to nazi germany when our zeplin fleet switched over after they lost one in our skies.

    Blimps do carry fuel that burns but this is a very very rare event.

    Fighting Navy blimps were ndefeated in WW-II and they helped defend us from submarines better than ships, mines, or pother aircraft.

  • Woody

    Blimps have helium which doesn’t burn or explode.

    We refused to sell any helium to nazi germany when our zeplin fleet switched over after they lost one in our skies.

    Blimps do carry fuel that burns but this is a very very rare event.

    Fighting Navy blimps were ndefeated in WW-II and they helped defend us from submarines better than ships, mines, or pother aircraft.

  • W.A.S.

    A true man, hero, awesome captain! Well done,rest in peace.