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Samoan Clipper

Samoan Clipper
The Sikorsky S-42 was capable of landing on water, making it possible to extend commercial air flight to locations without runways.
Accident summary
Date January 11, 1938
Summary In-flight explosion
Site Pago Pago, American Samoa
Passengers 0
Crew 7
Fatalities 7 (all)
Aircraft type Sikorsky S-42B
Aircraft name Samoan Clipper
(formerly Pan American Clipper II)
Operator Pan Am
Registration NC16734
Flight origin Honolulu, Hawaii
1st stopover Kingman Reef
2nd stopover Pago Pago, American Samoa
Destination Auckland, New Zealand

Samoan Clipper was one of ten Pan American Airways Sikorsky S-42 flying boats. It exploded near Pago Pago, American Samoa, on January 11, 1938, while piloted by famous aviator, Ed Musick. Musick and his crew of six died in the crash. The aircraft was carrying only airmail and express freight; no passengers were aboard.

The aircraft developed an oil leak shortly after taking off from Pago Pago harbor, and the crew decided to return to port. However, the S-42, fully loaded with fuel, was too heavy to land safely in the limited space of the harbor, so the crew elected to dump fuel before landing. While fuel dumping was in progress, there was a fire and explosion which destroyed the aircraft, killing all aboard.[1] The exact cause of ignition for the fire could not be determined.[2]


  1. ^ Accident description for NC16734 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 6 October 2013.
  2. ^ from Bureau of Air Commerce, 1 April 1938.

External links

  • 1938 flights to and from New Zealand
  • Airmail items carried on outward trip
  • Samoan Clipper at

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