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Accident description
Last updated: 26 November 2015
Date:Tuesday 13 January 1970
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC3 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas C-47B-45-DK (DC-3D)
Operator:Polynesian Airlines
Registration: 5W-FAC
C/n / msn: 34224/16964
First flight: 1945
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney R-1830-90C
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 29 / Occupants: 29
Total:Fatalities: 32 / Occupants: 32
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:off Apia-Faleolo Airport (APW) (   Samoa)
Phase: Initial climb (ICL)
Nature:Int'l Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Apia-Faleolo Airport (APW/NSFA), Samoa
Destination airport:Pago Pago International Airport (PPG/NSTU), American Samoa
Flightnumber: 208B
About one minute after take-off the aircraft encountered windshear and possible precipitation turbulence, causing the nose to pitch up. The aircraft stalled and crashed into the sea; an explosion followed.
CAUSE: Unrecoverable stall due to shifting of winds.

Loss of control



photo of Douglas C-47B-45-DK (DC-3D) 5W-FAC
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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 Apia-Faleolo Airport to Pago Pago International Airport as the crow flies is 150 km (94 miles).

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Networkĺs 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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Douglas DC-3

  • 3814th loss
  • ca 13.000 built
  • 21st worst accident (at the time)
  • 29th worst accident (currently)
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