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Last updated: 30 November 2021
Date:Wednesday 11 May 1966
Time:ca 18:10
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC3 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas R4D-5 (DC-3)
Operator:Polynesian Airlines
Registration: 5W-FAB
MSN: 25441/13996
First flight: 1944
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Apolima Strait (   Samoa)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Departure airport:Apia-Faleolo Airport (APW/NSFA), Samoa
Destination airport:Apia-Faleolo Airport (APW/NSFA), Samoa
The DC-3 left Faleolo at 17:45 for a training flight. While descending back for Faleolo, a door was seen to separate from the aircraft, striking the tail. The DC-3 lost control and crashed into the sea.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The in-flight opening and separation from the structure of the air-stair door which struck the aircraft's tail and so damaged it that uncontrollable pitch-down of the nose resulted in the aircraft diving into the sea."

» Douglas DC-3 Production List (Issue no. 28)


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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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