ASN Aircraft accident Sikorsky S-43B NC16933 Rio de Janeiro-Santos Dumont Airport, RJ (SDU)
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Sunday 13 August 1939
Type:Silhouette image of generic s43 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Sikorsky S-43B
Operator:Pan American Airways (Pan Am)
Registration: NC16933
MSN: 4324
First flight: 1936
Total airframe hrs:3650
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney R-1690-S1EG Hornet
Crew:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Passengers:Fatalities: 10 / Occupants: 12
Total:Fatalities: 14 / Occupants: 16
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:ca 1 km N off Rio de Janeiro-Santos Dumont Airport, RJ (SDU) (   Brazil)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Vitória-Goiabeiras Airport, ES (VIX/SBVT), Brazil
Destination airport:Rio de Janeiro-Santos Dumont Airport, RJ (SDU/SBRJ), Brazil
The Sikorsky S-43B flying boat was operating on an international service from Miami, FL to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with en route stops at Antilla, Port-au-Prince, San Pedro de Macorís, San Juan, Port of Spain, Georgetown, Paramaribo, Cayenne, Bélem, São Luís, Fortaleza, Natal, João Pessoa, Recife, Maceió, Aracaju, Salvador, Caravelas and Vitória.
The flight was circling Rio de Janeiro for a normal approach when the left engine lost power. The airplane yawed to the left and started a descending turn. The turn became sharper and the airplane descended at a steeper angle until it struck a caisson at Ilha das Cobras, in Guanabara Bay and crashed.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "Loss of power from the left engine during landing approach necessitating an attempted landing under extremely hazardous conditions."

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: CAB
Status: Investigation completed
Accident number: final report
Download report: Final report



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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 Vitória-Goiabeiras Airport, ES to Rio de Janeiro-Santos Dumont Airport, RJ as the crow flies is 417 km (261 miles).
Accident location: Exact; deduced from official accident report.

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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Sikorsky S.43

  • 53 built
  • 5th loss
  • 4th fatal accident
  • The worst accident
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  • The worst accident (at the time)
  • 78th worst accident (currently)
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