Accident Boeing 707-321B N417PA,
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Date:Sunday 22 July 1973
Type:Silhouette image of generic B703 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Boeing 707-321B
Owner/operator:Pan American World Airways (Pan Am)
Registration: N417PA
MSN: 18959/470
Year of manufacture:1966
Total airframe hrs:27314 hours
Engine model:Pratt & Whitney JT3D-3B
Fatalities:Fatalities: 78 / Occupants: 79
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Location:3 km NE off Papeete-Faaa Airport (PPT), Tahiti -   French Polynesia
Phase: En route
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Papeete-Faaa Airport (PPT/NTAA)
Destination airport:Los Angeles International Airport, CA (LAX/KLAX)
Investigating agency: BEA
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
PanAm flight PA816 was a regular flight from Auckland (AKL) to Los Angeles (LAX) with an intermediate stop at Papeete, Tahiti (PPT).
Boeing 707 "Clipper Winged Racer" took off from runway 04 at Papeete-Faaa Airport for its second leg of the flight. The airplane climbed to a height of 300 feet and initiated a left turn. It began to descend with an excessive bank turn and struck the sea. The wreckage sank into the 700 m deep waters off Papeete. Both CVR and FDR were not recovered.

PROBABLE CAUSE: Unknown. It is considered possible that an instrument failure may have diverted the crew's attention during the turn. Since it was dark outside and the turn was made towards the sea. No visual references were available.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: BEA
Report number: DCA74RZ002
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


Aviation Disasters / D. Gero (p. 118)
Flight International 28 May 1977 (1472)



photo (c) Kjell Nilsson; Stockholm-Arlanda Airport (ARN/ESSA); 17 August 1972

Revision history:


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