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The British R-101 and German LZ-129 Hindenberg airships are two well known examples of airship failures.  The U.S. military also had airship accidents resulting in loss of life.  One of the differences between the United States airships and those of Britain and Germany is that the American airships used helium to attain lift.  Britain and Germany did not have access to helium, and hydrogen (a highly flammable gas) was used instead.