Exploration looks for wreckage of sea plane

An exploration vessel (E/V), Nautilus, is arriving in the territory Friday on an expedition to try and find the wreckage of a Pan Am sea plane that went down in waters of Tutuila more than 80 years ago.

The expedition is in conjunction with Air Sea Heritage Foundation, and is aimed at locating, identifying and documenting the wreckage of Samoan Clipper, a Pan American Airways Sikorsky S-42B flying boat that was lost off the northwest coast of Tutuila, American Samoa in January 1938.

The mission is to acquire baseline information on deep-sea and mesophotic habitat in American Samoa, with a special focus on the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa (NMSAS).

Within deep-sea habitats, seafloor geology and biological communities will be documented and potentially new species of deep-sea coral and sub-samples of rocks will be collected.

In addition to seafloor mapping with multi-beam sonar, a special float will be utilized to capture high resolution photographic images.

If successful, the resulting survey will characterize an archaeological site with major significance to aviation history, determine the final resting place of pioneering Captain Edwin C. Musick and his 6-man crew, plus investigate the wreckage for evidence as to what led to their fate.

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