Accident Sikorsky S-43B NC15065, Monday 2 August 1937
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Date:Monday 2 August 1937
Time:19:40
Type:Silhouette image of generic s43 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Sikorsky S-43B
Owner/operator:Pan American Grace Airways (Panagra)
Registration: NC15065
MSN: 4305
Year of manufacture:1935
Fatalities:Fatalities: 14 / Occupants: 14
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Category:Accident
Location:24 km W off Cristóbal -   Panama
Phase: Approach
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Cali Airport (CLO/SKCL)
Destination airport:Cristóbal Seaplane Base
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Narrative:
The Sikorsky S-43B flying boat was operating on an international service from Cristóbal, Canal Zone, to Guayaquil, Ecuador. En route stops were made at Cali, Colombia and Tumaco, Colombia.
On the return leg, the airplane departed Cali at 15:40 with an estimated time or arrival at Cristóbal at 19:10. Last radio contact was at 19:38 when the airplane was descending towards Cristóbal. It impacted the sea and broke up.

The Board is of the opinion that this accident was caused by the NC-15065 striking the water while moving at a speed not less than 90 miles per hour, tearing the ship to pieces, causing the death of all aboard and that a fire resulted from the impact with the water. The Board is convinced that at the time of the collision the plane had a minimum of 80 gallons of gas which would have burned on the water a sufficient length of time to cause all burns or scorches found on any recovered wreckage.
The Board is of the opinion that the most probable contributing cause is one of the following and in the order named:
1. Failure of one or both engines due to faulty gasoline system, occurring during spiralling down mentioned in the pilot's last radio message.
2. The encountering of a sudden severe rain, as altitude was being lost by the plane in spiralling descent, resulting in ther blanking out of all visual contact.

Sources:


Statistics

  • 4th worst accident in 1937
  • worst accident of this aircraft type
  • worst accident of this aircraft type at the time

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