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Hawaii Clipper


Martin flying boat "Hawaii Clipper"

Total Persons on Board:

Fifteen - nine crew and 6 passengers

Flight Crew
Leo Terletsky, Captain & pilotMark A. Walker, First OfficerGeorge M. Davis, Second Officer
Jose M. Sauceda, Third OfficerJohn W. Jewett, Fourth OfficerWilliam McGarty, Radio Officer
Howard L. Cox, Engineer OfficerT. B. Tatum, Assistant Engineer OfficerIvan Parker, Flight Steward


Dr. Earl B. McKinley - a U.S. Army reserve Colonel & Dean of Medicine at George Washington Univ.Dr. Fred C. Meier - plant pathologist of the Department of AgricultureEdward E. Wyman, a Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy.
Kenneth A Kennedy, a traffic manager for Pan Am’s Pacific DivisionHoward C. French, a Major in the U.S. Army Air Corps ReserveYah-Sun "Watson" Choy, a restaurateur from New Jersey


July 28th, 1938


Reported as "layers of clouds and moderately rough air."

Flight Route:

Alameda, California, across the Pacific Ocean to Manila, with stops in Hawaii and Guam.

Area Believed Crashed:

The last radio contact was at 22:03 CST saying that it was 565 miles from the Philippine coast

Reason for flight:

Commercial flight

Type Plane:

Martin M-130, purpose-built for Pan American's transpacific route, registered as NC14714

Search efforts: 

The U. S. Army freight transport, USAT Meigs, was near the sight of the disappearance almost immediately. Late the next afternoon, 400 miles east of San Bernardino Strait in the Philippines, she came upon a vast patch of gasoline and oil. She radioed her discovery to Manila.

Search for the plane, including Army bomber, naval destroyers and submarines, was called off on August 5, 1938, no trace of the plane or its crew was found.

Controversy, Theories, and other Trivia: 

What few people knew at the time: the Hawaii Clipper was transporting $3M in U.S. currency.

A New Jersey Chinese-born restaurateur, Wah Sun Choy, was carrying this cash in his position as President of the Chinese War Relief Committee. This was money that had come from fundraising in the U.S., to be given over to the Chinese government.

One theory was that Japanese agents had skyjacked the Clipper and forced it to fly the 100 miles to Japanese-held Tinian, where her fifteen crew members and passengers were murdered, then entombed within a slab of wet concrete on Dublon Island. 

However, no evidence supports this assertion.


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This page last updated Tuesday, November 22, 2016

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