ASN Aircraft accident Sikorsky S-42B NC16734 Pago Pago, American Samoa
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Date:Tuesday 11 January 1938
Type:Silhouette image of generic s42 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Sikorsky S-42B
Operator:Pan American Airways (Pan Am)
Registration: NC16734
MSN: 4207
First flight:
Crew:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:120 km (75 mls) S off Pago Pago, American Samoa (   Pacific Ocean)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Departure airport:Pago Pago International Airport (PPG/NSTU), American Samoa
Destination airport:Auckland International Airport (AKL/NZAA), New Zealand
A Sikorsky S-42B, named "Samoan Clipper" and registered NC16734, made the first air mail flight from New Zealand to Hawaii in January 1938.
The flying boat and its mail arrived in Honolulu on January 3, 1938, and just six days later it departed again for a return flight to Kingman Reef, Pago Pago, and Auckland.
About an hour after departing Pago Pago in the early morning hours of January 11, NC16734 suffered an oil leak and the crew decided to return to Pago Pago. Fully loaded with fuel for the long flight to Auckland, the ship was too heavy to land safely in Pago Pago's small harbor, and captain Musick decided to dump fuel to lighten the aircraft for landing. At some point during the fuel dumping operation the gasoline ignited and the Samoan Clipper was destroyed by an explosion, killing all 7 on board.

» NZ History website
» Pan Am Across the Pacific


photo of Sikorsky-S-42B-NC16734
accident date: 11-01-1938
type: Sikorsky S-42B
registration: NC16734
This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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