Accident Sikorsky S-43B NC16933, Sunday 13 August 1939
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Date:Sunday 13 August 1939
Type:Silhouette image of generic s43 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Sikorsky S-43B
Owner/operator:Pan American Airways (Pan Am)
Registration: NC16933
MSN: 4324
Year of manufacture:1936
Total airframe hrs:3650 hours
Engine model:Pratt & Whitney R-1690-S1EG Hornet
Fatalities:Fatalities: 14 / Occupants: 16
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Location:ca 1 km N off Rio de Janeiro-Santos Dumont Airport, RJ (SDU) -   Brazil
Phase: Approach
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Vitória-Goiabeiras Airport, ES (VIX/SBVT)
Destination airport:Rio de Janeiro-Santos Dumont Airport, RJ (SDU/SBRJ)
Investigating agency: CAB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
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: "Loss of power from the left engine during landing approach necessitating an attempted landing under extremely hazardous conditions."

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



  • 5th worst accident in 1939
  • worst accident of this aircraft type
  • worst accident of this aircraft type at the time


Revision history:


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