Date & Time: Jan 11, 1938 at 0830 LT
Type of aircraft:
Sikorsky S-42
Operator:
Registration:
NC16734
Flight Phase:
Flight
Flight Type:
Postal (mail)
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Oakland – Honolulu – Kingman Reef – Pago Pago – Auckland
MSN:
4207
YOM:
1936
Country:
World
Region:
World
Crew on board:
7
Crew fatalities:
7
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
0
Other fatalities:
0
Total fatalities:
7
Circumstances:
The crew was performing a mail flight from Oakland, California, to Auckland, New Zealand, with intermediate stops in Honolulu, Kingman Reef and Pago Pago. One hour after his departure from Pago Pago, in the early hours, crew encountered technical problems and was forced to dump the fuel. The seaplane aircraft exploded and crashed into the sea some 120 km south of Pago Pago. Some debris were found few hours later and all seven occupants were killed, among them Captain Edwin C. Musick, first official Captain by Pan Am. The aircraft was christened 'Samoan Clipper'.
Probable cause:
It was theorized that gasoline vapors had become trapped by a wing flap when it was extended after the crew began dumping fuel in preparation for landing, causing an in-flight fire and/or explosion.