Aussie Pilot Sacrifices Life

Posted on June 15, 2011



Australian blimp pilot Michael Nerandzic sacrificed his life for his three passengers after the airship he was flying crashed to the ground Sunday.

The 53-year-old seasoned pilot and three journalists were flying back from the Hessentag festival, a local German music festival, in a Goodyear blimp. Nerandzic attempted to land the blimp at an airfield in Reichelsheim, Germany, when the airship suddenly caught fire.

Nerandzic lowered the blimp to about 2 meters above the ground and ordered his passengers to jump out. The sudden loss in weight caused the aircraft to shoot 50 meters into the air where it burst into flames and crashed to the ground.

The remains of the pilot were found at the controls of the airship. He had steered the fated blimp away from the ground crew as well.

Nerandzic had logged over 18,000 hours of experience piloting airships over his 26-year career. He is now being hailed as a hero.

Pictures from afar of the blimp as it burned after Nerandzic had the passengers jump to safety. (Courtesy of Illawara News)

Firefighters carry a casket with Nerandzic's remains from the blimp crash site. (Courtesy of TIME Inc.)

Posted in: Global