Accident Douglas DC-4 N88899, Friday 11 April 1952
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Date:Friday 11 April 1952
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Douglas DC-4
Owner/operator:Pan American World Airways (Pan Am)
Registration: N88899
MSN: 10503
Year of manufacture:1945
Total airframe hrs:20835 hours
Engine model:Pratt & Whitney R-2000
Fatalities:Fatalities: 52 / Occupants: 69
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Location:18 km NW off San Juan-Isla Grande Airport (SIG) -   Puerto Rico
Phase: En route
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:San Juan-Isla Grande Airport (SIG/TJIG)
Destination airport:New York-Idlewild International Airport, NY (IDL/KIDL)
Investigating agency: CAB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The aircraft, named "Clipper Endeavour" took off from San Juan at 12:11 for a flight to New York when the no. 3 engine failed. The prop was feathered at 350 feet and the crew elected to return to San Juan. The aircraft reached an altitude of 550 feet but the no. 4 engine ran roughly and height couldn't be maintained. To avoid a possible forced landing in a congested area or on coral reef, the aircraft was ditched 11 miles NW of San Juan Airport, 4,5 miles offshore. The rear fuselage broke off behind the bulkhead aft of the main cabin. The plane sank in about 3 minutes.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "a) The company's inadequate maintenance in not changing the No. 3 engine which resulted in its failure immediately subsequent to take-off, and b) The persistent action of the captain in attempting to re-establish a climb, without using all available power, following the critical loss of power to another engine. This resulted in a nose-high attitude, progressive loss of airspeed and the settling of the aircraft at too low an altitude to effect recovery,"

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: CAB
Report number: final report
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 5 months
Download report: Final report


CAB File No. 1-0026
Ditch or crash-land?/B.W. Townshend, 1965 (30-32)
ICAO Circular 38-AN/33 (58-60)


  • 2nd worst accident in 1952
  • 18th worst accident of this aircraft type
  • 6th worst accident of this aircraft type at the time


Revision history:


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