World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Pan Am Flight 816

Pan Am Flight 816
Sister ship to the accident aircraft; Clipper Yankee Ranger (N418PA).
Accident summary
Date July 22, 1973
Summary Crash on takeoff, spatial disorientation
Site Off Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia
Passengers 69
Crew 10
Injuries (non-fatal) 1
Fatalities 78
Survivors 1
Aircraft type Boeing 707-321B
Aircraft name Clipper Winged Racer
Operator Pan American World Airways
Registration N417PA
Flight origin Auckland Airport, New Zealand
Stopover Fa'a'ā International Airport, Tahiti, French Polynesia
1st stopover Los Angeles International Airport, California, United States
Destination San Francisco International Airport, California, United States

Flight PA 816 was an international flight from Auckland, New Zealand, to San Francisco, United States, via Tahiti, French Polynesia and Los Angeles, United States. It was operated by a Pan Am Boeing 707-321B bearing the registration N417PA and named Clipper Winged Racer.[1] On July 22, 1973, at 10:06 P.M. local time, the Boeing 707 took off from Fa'a'ā International Airport in Papeete. Thirty seconds after takeoff, the airliner carrying 79 passengers and crew crashed into the sea.


  • Accident description 1
  • Accident Cause 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Accident description

When the aircraft had reached an altitude of 300 ft (91 m), it began to descend, banking to the left. The increasingly excessive bank caused the 707 to crash into the sea and sink off Papeete.[1] Because the turn was made towards the sea at night, no visual references were available.[1] The cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder are believed to have sunk to a depth of about 2,300 ft (700 m), and were never recovered.[1] Although no official cause was determined, it is believed that an instrument failure during a turn may have contributed to the accident.[1][2]

Accident Cause

Pan Am Clipper 816, an international scheduled flight to San Francisco originating in Auckland, via Papeete and Los Angeles, was en route non-stop to Los Angeles from Papeete at the time of the accident. Neil Campbell, the lone survivor, was a Canadian citizen. At the time he said he had no memory of the actual crash, but "woke up" in the water. Many private vessels sortied from Papeete harbor that night with more joining at first light to aid in the search for survivors. The bodies of several of the flight attendants were the only ones recovered. Speculation at the time at Pan Am on the cause of the accident also considered a catastrophic windshield failure, as well as gyro horizon instrument failure. No conclusive cause was ever determined.[3]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network
  2. ^ "Pan Am's Accidents". Retrieved 2007-11-17. 
  3. ^ "Official crash report". (in Français). May 12, 1977. Retrieved 2009-10-20. 

External links

  • (French) Final accident report (Archive)
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.