Philippine Clipper Crashes into Mountainous Terrain, Killing 19

This is the story of the last flight of the “Philippine Clipper” which crashed on the California coast near Booneville after arriving from Honolulu, Hawaii.

On board that final flight were nine crewmembers and ten passengers. All were instantly killed when the aircraft slammed into a small peak at the 2,500-foot level in thick fog at 7:30 that morning. The aircraft had departed Pearl Harbor at 5:30 p.m. the night before, and expected to reach San Francisco at approximately 10:18 a.m. on the 21st.

It was 21 January 1943, in the dire days of WW II for the U.S. and she was en route to San Francisco when she crashed during a descent for landing — losing all 19 on board. A simple marker to remember a traumatic accident.

Preparing for their scheduled flight from Hawaii to San Francisco, the Pan American Airways flight crew in Oahu was advised before their departure that, upon reaching the San Francisco area of northern California, a low overcast and moderate rain and wind should be expected.

As a precaution, the four-engine Martin M-130 flying boat, christened the “Philippine Clipper” (NC14715), was fueled for an estimated 24.2 flying hours in the event of a delayed landing or even a possible diverting to San Diego, the closest alternative port capable of accommodating flying boats.

The clipper, with nine crew members and 10 passengers aboard, departed Hawaii at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 20, and arrived off the coast of San Francisco at approximately 6:50 a.m. the next morning, but was prevented from landing due to darkness and an unusually severe wind and rain storm that resulted in choppy sea conditions.

Pan Am Flight 1104, Trip No. 62100, was a Martin M-130 flying boat nicknamed the Philippine Clipper that crashed on the morning of January 21, 1943 in Northern California. The aircraft was operated by Pan American World Airways, and at the time of the crash was transporting ten US Navy personnel from Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii to San Francisco, California. The aircraft crashed in poor weather into mountainous terrain approximately 7 miles (11 km) southwest of Ukiah, California due to pilot error.