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Accident description
Last updated: 16 October 2017
Status:
Date:Saturday 21 January 1939
Time:ca 13:10
Type:Short S.23 Empire Flying Boat Mk II
Operator:Imperial Airways
Registration: G-ADUU
C/n / msn: S.812
First flight: 1936
Engines: 4 Bristol Pegasus Xc
Crew:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 5
Passengers:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 8
Total:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 13
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:460 km (287.5 mls) SE off Port Washington, Long Island, NY (   Atlantic Ocean)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Port Washington Seaplane Base, NY, United States of America
Destination airport:Bermuda-Darrell's Island Seaplane Port, Bermuda
Narrative:
The Short S.23 Empire Flying Boat, named "Cavalier" took off at 10.38 a.m. About two hours later the captain decided to climb through a high cumulus cloud. While in clouds the engine power began to drop. He turned back towards Port Washington, hoping to regain a clear patch and thus cruise in more favourable conditions, but found that too much height had been lost to regain this patch and turned back on to his original course.
Flying in severe weather the airplane suffered a complete loss of power of the two inner engines and partial loss of power in the outboard engines. This was caused by carburettor icing.
A forced landing was carried out and the flying boat sank.
The tanker Esso Baytown was the first vessel to reach the scene of the accident and by midnight was able to report that she had picked up ten of the thirteen persons on board.

Classification:
Ditching

Sources:
» Flight 30-3-1939
» Flight 26-1-1939


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Map
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Port Washington Seaplane Base, NY to Bermuda-Darrell's Island Seaplane Port as the crow flies is 1230 km (769 miles).

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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