1931 Managua Earthquake Emergency Flights

April 27, 2023

Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, was badly damaged by an earthquake and following fires on 31 March 1931.

The earthquake of magnitude 6 struck at 10:19AM, paralyzed the city, started many fires, destroyed many buildings including the post office and killed almost 2,500 people.

A Pan American Airways flight originated in Miami, landed at Managua under emergency orders at 19:00 the evening of 31 March to provide disaster relief. It continued to Cristobal, Canal Zone, on 1 April. Only 3 covers carried on this flight are known. The airplane returned the same day to Managua with doctors, nurses and medical supplies.

A scheduled Pan American Airways mail airplane piloted by Captain Archie Paschal arrived at Managua on 1 April for its regular overnight stop en route from Mexico City to Cristobal. It departed for Cristobal the next day carrying emergency mail from Managua. The pilot A. Paschal prepared and signed approximately 25 to 30 covers bearing a 65mm diamond-shaped cachet reading “PAA Managua Nicaragua Emergency 4-2-31”.

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