Tuesday, 28th of December, 1948
– Atlantic Ocean:
An Airborne Transport Douglas DST-144 (DC-3), registration NC16002, operating a domestic non scheduled passenger flight from San Juan-Isla Grande Airport (SIG/TJIG), Puerto Rico, to Miami International Airport (MIA/KMIA), Florida, USA, went missing off the eastern coast of Florida.
The three crew and 29 passengers are presumed dead. (32 fatalities)
The DC-3 departed San Juan for Miami with some known problems in the electrical system and nearly discharged batteries. Takeoff clearance was given provided that the crew contacted San Juan Tower after take off to file an IFR flight plan. This was not done. The aircraft continued to Miami however at 8500 feet cruising altitude. Last radio contact was with New Orleans at 04:13 when the pilot reported 50 miles South of Miami. Nothing more was heard from the flight. It is thought that the aircraft had already passed Florida at the Keys and was flying west over the Gulf of Mexico until fuel became exhausted. Radio contact was probably no longer possible due to electrical problems and exhausted batteries.
Two bodies were found, 80-90 km south off Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, on January 4, 1949. Newspaper reports at the time suggested that these may have been passengers on the missing DC-3. This was not confirmed however.
– Cause: “The Board lacks sufficient information in this case to determine the probable cause.”