The Bermuda Triangle

A look into the mysteries of The Bermuda Triangle. Why have so many ships and planes disappeared over the years without a trace?

The Bermuda Triangle: Does It Really Exist?

On December 5, 1945 five Avenger torpedo bomber planes carrying fourteen men left Fort Lauderdale at 2 PM on a routine training flight and were never seen again. Later that same day a Martin Mariner flying boat with its crew of thirteen men and full rescue equipment vanished in its quest for the bombers of Flight 19 without leaving behind so much as a flare or an oil slick or even one piece of wreckage. The investigation that followed prompted many questions and no answers. An uncomfortable pattern was looming over the heads of the Naval Board of Inquiry. It suggested that the missing aircraft were just two pieces of a puzzle involving the disappearance of more than sixty planes and ships at irregular intervals over a patch of ocean that stretches on the north between Bermuda and the Virginia coast and is formed by Cuba and Puerto Rico on the south.

The Bermuda Triangle is a conundrum that has baffled man for more than a century. Whether it exists or not, the explanation for these mysterious disappearances will never be fully ascertained. The ghost still lingers and the questions that remain are unsettling at best. All of the ships and planes went down over tranquil waters and clear skies. All carried radio and rescue equipment and yet no distress calls and no debris, with very few exceptions has ever been found. Several books, including "The Limbo of The Lost" by William Spencer and "The Bermuda Triangle" by Charles Berlitz, have been written on the subject and at least one movie, "The Devil's Triangle", has been made. Still, only the flimsiest shadow of conjecture reigns over why these air and sea-worthy vessels have faded into oblivion.

The earliest recorded disappearance in The Bermuda Triangle dates back to 1866 when the Scandinavian vessel, The Lotta, disappeared. Several others followed in the course of the next few years but no one paid much attention; ships lost inexplicably at sea was a common fate over the last few centuries. In March of 1918 the collier, Cyclops, with more than seven years of service left the port of Barbados headed for Norfolk, Virginia. It never arrived and for years it was assumed that a German mine struck it. Four or five other ships over the next two decades including the American freighter, Cotopaxi, the cargo tramp steamer, Sudolfco and the US freighter, Sandra met the same unknown fate.

The Star Tiger and The Star Ariel were four engine Tudors bound for Kingston, Jamaica. The two sister ships vanished in perfect weather and within six hundred miles of each other in the general area of Bermuda. The Star Tiger and its crew of twenty-nine people were last seen on January 29, 1948; The Star Ariel met her unknown destiny on January 12, 1949.

Between 1950 and 1954 no less than nine ships vanished with no lifeboats, no survivors and no bodies. The one striking similarity between all these disappearances is the disturbing fact that they all carried radio equipment and no wreckage was ever found. The only exception involved the tanker, The Marine Sulfur Queen, which left Beaumont Texas on February 2,1963 and was never seen again. A day later a solitary life jacket was found floating in the waters off Key West, the ship's last known location.

William Shakespeare once said: "There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of"¦ in your philosophy." Perhaps it is in this line of thought that an answer, if there is one, lies. The sea is older than time with an enduring mystique all its own. Its endless depths hide a secret universe of realms unknown and unimagined. The "freak sea", a single mountainous wave rising without warning up to one hundred feet or more, is such a phenomenon. The wave seems to rise from the heart of a storm and one of them could fell a ship in a heartbeat. The problem with this as an explanation for the missing ships is that by its very definition, it takes a storm to create these terrible waves and all of the disappearances occurred during fair weather.

In the case of the missing aircraft (and there were many others that followed Flight 19), it could not be "turbulence" of any kind that threw them off course. Most such problems involve a current of rising air within a cumulo-nimbus cloud. The pilots were on routine maneuvers and very experienced. Their difficulties, according to contacts made with the control tower, seemed to stem from direction or location. In the last moments of contact there were unexplainable atmospheric problems; the pilots were unable to distinguish the water from the air.

Explanations may be beyond the scope of our understanding of the world as we know it. Who is to say that there are not dimensions in time and space which we may never penetrate? Still, something is out there that we cannot ignore and must respect. Perhaps the day will come when we will understand or at least be able to approach its dark, unknown frontiers. Perhaps not. The sea is the keeper of many secrets and in Her majesty she may never let them go.

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