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Last updated: 22 October 2020
Date:Tuesday 11 January 1938
Type:Sikorsky S-42B
Operator:Pan American Airways (Pan Am)
Registration: NC16734
C/n / 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
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photo of Sikorsky-S-42B-NC16734
accident date: 11-01-1938
type: Sikorsky S-42B
registration: NC16734

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 Pago Pago International Airport to Auckland International Airport as the crow flies is 2890 km (1806 miles).
Accident location: Global; accuracy within tens or hundreds of kilometers.

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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