Video: Wreckage of the 'Lituanica' Is Found

The 1933 attempt to break Charles Lindbergh's non-stop distance record ended in tragedy.

[video: width: 612px]

In 1933 the Lithuanian-American aviators Steponas Darius and Stanley Girenas attempted to fly their aircraft, the Lituanica, from New York City to the land of their birth, and in doing so break Charles Lindbergh's non-stop distance record. Their aim was to bring fame and attention to their mother country, which was newly independent following the Versailles Treaty.

The proposed  flight became a cause célèbre on both sides of the Atlantic. But the attempt was doomed: only 350 miles from Kaunas, the pair flew into a storm over Germany and were forced to make an emergency landing. They didn't survive. The video above shows newsreel footage of the wreckage; both men were apparently killed on impact.

In the March issue of History Today, Hal Wert tells the intriguing story of Darius and Girenas, and the wider backdrop of an era when the public was spellbound by the new wonders of aviation. The March issue is out on February 21st; subscribe now and ensure you don't miss it.