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Last updated: 3 August 2021
Status:Final
Date:Friday 3 October 1941
Time:17:48
Type:Sikorsky S-42B
Operator:Pan American Airways (Pan Am)
Registration: NC15376
MSN: 4206
First flight: 1936
Total airframe hrs:7832
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney R-1690-S1EG Hornet
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 6
Passengers:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 21
Total:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 27
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:San Juan harbor (   Puerto Rico)
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:San Pedro de Macorís Seaplane Base, Dominican Republic
Destination airport:San Juan (unknown airport), Puerto Rico
Flightnumber: 203
Narrative:
Pan American World Airways Trip 203 originated at Miami, Florida, and was bound for Buenos Aires, Argentina, with numerous intermediate stops including those
at Antilla, Cuba; Port au Prince, Haiti; San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
"Dominican Clipper" proceeded normally throughout its entire route except for becoming increasingly behind schedule. Following the approach to San Juan harbor, the airplane contacted the water in a nose-low attitude while moving sideways relative to the water. Almost immediately after first contact with the water the aircraft swerved violently to the right and broke into several major sections.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE:
The failure of the captain to exercise requisite caution and skill in landing. The smooth surface of the water which rendered difficult the captain's depth perception, as well as the exact determination of any lateral movement of the aircraft, constituted a substantial contributing factor.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: CAB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 105 days (4 months)
Accident number: SA-50
Download report: Final report

Classification:
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Water

Photos

photo of Sikorsky-S-42B-NC15376
accident date: 03-10-1941
type: Sikorsky S-42B
registration: NC15376
photo of Sikorsky-S-42B-NC15376
accident date: 03-10-1941
type: Sikorsky S-42B
registration: NC15376
 
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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