This Day in History: 12/05/1945 - Planes Lost in Bermuda Triangle

This Day in History: 12/05/1945 - Planes Lost in Bermuda Triangle

In this "This Day in History" video, learn about the history of December 5th. It was the day of the California Gold Rush in 1848, the start of Prohibition in 1933, and the day Newt Gingrich became speaker of the house, the first Republican to do so in some 40 years.


Analysis:

Bermuda Triangle had been a real mystery for a long time, because of more than 100 ships and planes that were lost in this area under mysterious circumstances without any trace. More than 1000 people are reported to have been lost in this area. Also called Devil’s Triangle, Bermuda Triangle is a region in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean. The Triangle area is bordered by Puerto Rico, Miami and Bermuda(As shown in image below). The size of this area is ranges from 500,000 to 1.5 million square miles. Many people have associated this area with paranormal or extraterrestrial activity because of the disappearance of aircrafts and surface vessels under mysterious circumstances.

The Bermuda Triangle area

The first reported incident was that of Flight 19, a group of five bomber aircrafts belonging to US Navy which disappeared in the triangle area in 1945 on December 5, 1945. Also, another search and rescue aircraft PBM Mariner that was sent out the next day to search for them disappeared within 20 minutes of departure. on 30 January 1948, Star Tiger a BSAA Avro Tudor IV plane disappeared without any kind of trace. And on 17 January 1949, another Avro Tudor IV plane belonging to BSAA vanished between Bermuda and Jamaica. Many ships and surface vessels were also reported to have disappeared in this area under mysterious circumstance without any kind of trace. Reports say that none of these planes or ships sent signals referring to any kind of wreckage or sinking. They also stated that the navigational equipment does not work naturally in the triangle area, misleading the navigators and causing accidents. Many theories and stories came up since then explaining these accidents, claiming to have solved the mystery of Bermuda Triangle. Some called it beyond science and paranormal, while others associated with some kind of extra-terrestrial activity. We have analyzed various credible sources and reports and are being logical in our analysis here.

The Flight 19 accident was a technical failure that happened because of failed navigational equipment. The lead pilot lost his track and tried flying with visual landmarks for a long time. Since it was a training flight, the other four aircrafts had to follow the lead pilot. As a result of this over-flight, the aircrafts lost on fuel and disappeared in the ocean. The PBM Mariner aircraft that was sent to search them had a history of explosions due to vapour leaks, because it does a potentially long search and rescue operation that requires heavily loaded fuel. The reasons behind disappearance of other two planes were explained by BBC. Star Tiger aircraft’s heater was not reliable and had failed during the flight, also, one of the compasses was found to be faulty. For this reason, the pilot must have decided to fly at a very low height of 2000 feet that eventually led to the loss of fuel and collapsed into the ocean. In fact, Star Tiger was a converted warplane that was eventually taken out of passenger service because of its poor safety record. Avro Tudor IV disappearance was a catastrophic technical failure as a result of poor design. At that time, the aircraft heater technology was pretty new. The heater and the hydraulic pipes were significantly close. The hydraulic vapour escaped from a leak, which got on to the hot heater and caused a sudden explosion.

Coming to the many ships and surface vessels that were reported to be disappearing in Bermuda Triangle, there are many natural reasons associated with it that relate to the topography of the ocean in Bermuda Triangle. Bermuda Triangle is indeed a vortex of extreme natural conditions. Many lost ships have actually been located, but some disappearances did not have reasons. The Discovery Channel did good research in this area and came up with all possible conditions that could have led to these mysterious disappearances.

They used modern SONAR scans and satellite surveys and came up with 3-d maps of Bermuda. Near Puerto Rico, they found a 5 miles deep trench in the siesmic centre of Bermuda Triangle. Any ship or plane crashed in this area cannot be found. The second attribute is the Gulf stream, which is a deep ocean current that originates in the Gulf of Mexico and then flows through the Straits of Florida into the North Atlantic. Any small plane making a water landing or a troubled boat having engine trouble can be easily carried away by this strong under water current. The ocean researchers discovered that this fastest ocean current of Atlantic dragged an 8000 tonnes OMTATA ship for over 200 miles, and so could not be found at the location it was sunk. This dislodging of sunk ships and plane makes it difficult to trace them. Another attribute that the researchers believe in is Rogue Waves, because all the missing planes and ships never left any signal of sinking or impact, which means that the accidents should be accompanied by speed and violent means all of a sudden. These rogue waves are 10 times bigger than the general waves, which can drag ships in instantly. This happens because of frequent storms in Atlantic that dislocate and produce the high incidence of rogue waves near bermuda triangle. All these factors, including possible human error are the main reasons behind the disappearance of ships and planes in Bermuda Triangle.

Methane Hydrates

It is a fact that Bermuda Triangle contains large fields of methane hydrates on the continental shelves. The story mentioned is a hypothesis that came up after laboratory experiments carried out in Australia that have proven that methane bubbles can indeed sink a scale model ship by decreasing the density of the water. The study assumed that periodic methane eruptions in Bermuda Triangle produce regions of frothy water that does not provide adequate buoyancy for ships and results in rapid sinking without any kind of warning. Further, they assumed that the Gulf stream can drag these sunken ships. The video below shows how this can be possible.

However, there are large stores of undersea hydrates worldwide, (Refer Map) including the Blake Ridge area, off the southeastern United States coast, and no where such ‘mysterious’ disappearances like Bermuda Triangle are reported. Moreover, United States Geological Survey claim that no large releases of gas hydrates are believed to have occurred in the area of Bermuda Triangle for the past 15,000 years. And, there is no definite logic in saying that these methane bubbles can drag aircrafts flying in the sky. Therefore, this part of the story is a hoax.


5 Famous Mysterious Stories of the Bermuda Triangle

Bermuda triangle, also known as the Devil’s Triangle, happens to be one of the most mysterious places on this planet. Located off the Southeastern coast of the US in the Atlantic Ocean, between Bermuda, Florida and Puerto Rico, the region has become the Centre of unresolved mysteries.

Covering an area of 440,000 miles of sea, Bermuda triangle is part of a busy shipping route in the world, with a number of vessels heading to America, Europe and the Caribbean crossing through every day.

It is more due to the inexplicable outcomes that make it a highly studied and yet enigmatic component of the earth’s surface. Over the centuries, a large number of ships and planes have been reported to have mysteriously disappeared in the region.

Also, this Devil’s Triangle has been blamed for the disappearance of thousands of people in the past decades.

The term “Bermuda Triangle” was first used by Vincent Gaddis in 1964 in his article published in Argosy magazine.

Image Credits: Jbarta/wikipedia.org

The stories around the Bermuda triangle begins in the time of Christopher Columbus when he reportedly saw a flame of fire crashing into the sea in the triangle during his first voyage to the New World.

However, the mysterious behaviour of the region came into the public attention only in the 20th century when the Navy cargo ship, USS Cyclops, with more than 300 people on board, went missing in the Bermuda triangle. The latest such incident in the region is the disappearance of a small twin-engine plane in May this year.

The plane, with four people on board, suddenly disappeared from the radar when it was flying from Puerto Rico to Florida, and the debris appeared to be from the missing plane was found later.

The recent incident that involved a ship was the sinking of a cargo vessel in the Bermuda Triangle during a deadly hurricane in October 2015.

As the accidents, often mysterious, continue to happen in the Bermuda Triangle region, many have offered a number of explanations for the mystery behind them.

The role of paranormal activities and the presence of aliens have been strongly suggested by those who believe something odd is happening, while many with scientific view disputed this argument offering rational explanations to the phenomenon.

Among the few proposed scientific explanation, the more popular is the theory of electromagnetic interference that causes compass problems.

This theory claims that there is a very high pull of the earth’s natural magnet which redirects the compass and other sophisticated equipment, and disallows them to take their intended route through the waters.

However, as no single theory could offer a concrete explanation, many still believe there is nothing strange with the region as most of the incidents were inaccurately reported or fictionalised versions of the accidents.

Notwithstanding there is no proven theory for the exact reason behind the mystery of Bermuda Triangle, the accidents continue to happen in the region every year.

And, the legends of Bermuda Triangle consists of a number of the mysterious disappearance of vessels in the region, most of them remain least clueless still. Here is a list of most noted stories of disappearance or the unresolved mysteries of ship accidents in the Devil’s Triangle.

1. Mary Celeste

Possibly one of the most mysterious stories of shipwrecks, this ship is a tale of its own. Despite being found adrift in some other location in the Atlantic Ocean, the connection to the Bermuda triangle had been somehow invoked to find an answer to the mystery of its fate.

Discovered on 4th December 1872 with everything right in the place except for the entire crew, the ship was found stranded on the sea days after it started its journey from New York to Genoa, Italy.

There were seven crew members along with Captain Benjamin Briggs, his wife and their two-year-old daughter abroad the vessel which was loaded with raw alcohol.

But, days after, when a passing British ship called Dei Gratia found Mary Celeste under partial sail in Atlantic, off the Azores Islands, the ship was unmanned with no crew abroad and the lifeboat was also missing.

It was also found that nine of the barrels in the cargo were empty and there was a sword on the deck. No trace of the people abroad the vessel or the missing lifeboat has ever been found.

Studies of the ship clearly ruled out the possibility of a pirate attack since everything on this ship including the barrels of alcohol it was transporting and the valuable belongings of the crew were intact.

Theories surrounding the mystery of the Mary Celeste also included the chances of a criminal conspiracy, alien abduction, and even an attack by a giant squid.

The possibility of a natural disaster was also on the list. Many suggested the role of an undersea earthquake behind the accident, while few proposed an accidental foraying of the vessel into the Bermuda Triangle.

However, as much as these speculations seem reasonable, they clearly don’t fit. After all, why would a perfectly skilled crew on a good weather day, with their ship entirely uncompromised abandon it and then never surface again?

2. Ellen Austin

It is an unnerving triangle mystery associated with the American white oak schooner, Ellen Austin. In 1881, the 210 feet long Ellen Austin was on her way to New York from London when she stumbled upon a derelict near the Bermuda Triangle. Everything seemed fine with the unidentified schooner drifting just north of the Sargasso Sea, but the missing crew.

Captain Baker of the Ellen Austin asked to observe the derelict for two days in order to make sure it’s not a trap. After two days with no response from the ship, the captain entered the abandoned vessel with his crew to find the well-packed shipment and no sign of the crew.

In order to tow it back with Ellen Austin, the captain placed a prize crew on the ship, set to sail together. However, after two days of sail on calm waters a squall separated path of the two ships following which the derelict vanished.

Days after the storm, according to the stories, Captain Baker’s lookout could spot the vessel through his spyglass only to realise the vessel drifting far away aimlessly once again. After hours of effort, Ellen Austin could catch up the vessel.

But, strangely, no one was on board. However, another version of the story suggests a second attempt by Baker to bring her back to land but ended with the same fate before Ellen Austin before abandoning the cursed vessel.

Other reports suggest that the derelict was once more spotted but this time had a separate crew than the prize crew placed on it by Ellen Austin.

The disappearance of the ship, her reappearance and the absence of the prize crew is an intriguing story. It is more like a secret of Bermuda triangle, one that has seemingly no chances of being unravelled anytime soon.

3. USS Cyclops

The disappearance of USS Cyclops, one of the Navy’s biggest fuel ships, marks the largest loss of life in the history of the US Navy in a single incident.

In March 1918, this massive ship set out to sail from Brazil to Baltimore through the Bermuda region carrying 10,800 tons of manganese ore with about 309 crew members on board. Setting off on a fairly good day, the first and the only message sent by this ship indicated no sort of troubles.

However, the ship was never heard from again. An entire search of the area was put into action but nothing was ever found. No remains of the ship or any crew members aboard have ever been found. The captain of USS Cyclops never sent a distress signal and no one aboard responded to radio calls from other vessels in the vicinity.

The naval investigators also failed to find a definite cause for its disappearance though there were a number of theories suggesting various reasons.

Due to its mysterious disappearance, Cyclops has become part of the list of more than 100 ships and planes to have vanished under strange circumstances in the Bermuda triangle.

4. Carroll A. Deering

Carroll A. Deering, a five-masted commercial schooner, is one of the most written-about maritime mysteries of the 20th century due to the complete mystery around its abandonment.

On January 31, 1921, Carroll A. Deering was found hard aground on the treacherous rocks of Hatteras Diamond Shoals, North Carolina. There were speculations that the vessel was involved in rum-running.

However, when the investigation team from Barbados reached the vessel after days of effort in the rough sea, what they found was a deserted ship with all crew members missing along with the crew’s personal belongings, ships navigational equipment, logbooks, and life rafts, among others.

Often knows as “Ghost Ship of the Outer Banks”, the disappearance of Carroll A. Deering along with few other vessels during the same time period in the Bermuda triangle area has been valuable information on the mysterious waters, but nothing could bring anyone any closer to solving this mystery.

Reports suggest that as many as nine vessels disappeared during this period, from the same region- none of which was ever heard from again.

5. Witchcraft

On December 22, 1967, a cabin cruiser named witchcraft left from Miami with her captain Dan Burack and his friend, Father Patrick Horgan.

The two gentlemen’s journey on the 23-foot luxury yacht was to enjoy the wonderful view of Miami’s Christmas lights. However, after reaching just one mile from offshore, the coast guard received a call from the captain stating that his ship had hit something but there was no substantial damage.

Indicating help to be towed to the shore, the coast guard set off immediately reaching witchcraft in as many as 19 minutes alone but to nothing.

The area indicating the location of the ship was completely deserted with no signs of any ship having been stranded or even present there previously.

What’s most intriguing about this story is that this particular cruiser was virtually unsinkable, not to mention that numerous life-saving devices present aboard including life jackets, lifeboats, flares, distress signal devices etc.

None of them was used and the ship was gone. The coast guard officials searched hundreds of square miles of the ocean over the next few days but were unsuccessful. Nothing of this ship has been found until this day. The ship is gone and what remains is only the speculation that can be done now.

Do you know any other mystery that can be added to this list?

Let’s know in the comments below.

You might also like to read:

Disclaimer:The authors’ views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Marine Insight. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and have not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author and Marine Insight do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. The views constitute only the opinions and do not constitute any guidelines or recommendation on any course of action to be followed by the reader.

The article or images cannot be reproduced, copied, shared or used in any form without the permission of the author and Marine Insight.

Looking For Practical Yet Affordable Maritime Resources?

Check out Marine Insight's Digital Guides:

eBooks For Deck Department - Resources on a variety of topics related to deck machinery and operations.

eBooks For Engine Department - Resources on a variety of topics related to the engine room machinery and operations.

Save Big With Combo Packs - Digital resources bundles that help you save big and comes with additional free bonuses.

eBooks On Marine Electrical Systems - Digital resources on design, maintenance and troubleshooting of marine electrical systems


The Bermuda Triangle

[PureInsight.org] The mere mention of this place evokes a gamut of emotion and images in people: a contact with something mysterious, sinking ships and planes disappearing into nowhere, distortions in time-space, mistrust, fear and a desire to find out the truth hidden behind these mystical phenomena.

The Bermuda Triangle is an area in the Atlantic Ocean where, ostensibly, mysterious disappearances happen at sea and in air. The area is marked by borders from Florida to the Bermudas, further south to Puerto Rico and back to Florida through the Bahamas. A similar “triangle” in the Pacific Ocean is named “devilish.” Various hypotheses put forward that explain these disappearances include unusual weather patterns and alien abductions.

The History

The first of the “mysterious disappearances” in the Bermuda Triangle were mentioned by a correspondent from the Associated Press, Edward Van Winkle Jones. In 1950, in his article he named this area “the sea of the devil.” The author of the word-combination “Bermuda triangle” is considered to be Vincent Gaddis, who published an article in 1964 in a magazine devoted to spiritualism, "The Deadly Bermuda Triangle."

In the late 1960s to early 70s, numerous publications about the secrets of the Bermuda Triangle began to appear.

In 1974, Charles Berlitz had published a book, “The Bermuda Triangle,” a collection of various mysterious disappearances in this area. The book became a best seller, and after its publication, theories of the unusual features of the Bermuda Triangle became especially popular. However, later on, it was shown that some facts presented in the book were incorrectly stated.

In 1975, Lawrence David Kusche published a book, “The Bermuda Triangle Mystery: Solved,” where he tried to argue that nothing supernatural or mysterious happens in that area. This book is based on long-term research of documents and conversations from eyewitnesses. But supporters of the existence of the elusive Bermuda Triangle revealed numerous errors and discrepancies in this book.

Nevertheless, mystical incidents around the area of the Bermuda Triangle cannot be ignored. Cases of mysterious disappearances in this area excited the minds of people from the beginning of the 1960s. The most known and mysterious of them is the loss of a whole squadron of American military planes. Five bombers with 14 crew members suddenly went off the radar screen within the region of the Bermuda Triangle during flight training. A plane with a crew of 13 on board went in search but it disappeared as well. Neither plane, nor any aircraft fragments have been found to this day.

After 25 years of silence, in 2003, a book written by Gian J. Quasar, “Into the Bermuda Triangle: Pursuing the Truth Behind the World's Greatest Mystery” was published. The author has generalized 13 years of researched information taken from official sources such as NTSB, Coast Guard, Air Force and Navy and many foreign archives. The list of missing planes in the Bermuda triangle can be found here: http://www.bermuda-triangle.org/html/lost_aircraft.html

Incidents in the Bermuda Triangle

Supporters of the Bermuda Triangle theory mention disappearances of about 100 large sea and air vessels over the last hundred years. Other than disappearances, there are reported cases of perfectly working sea craft abandoned by crew members and other unusual phenomena, such as instantaneous transportation into space, anomalies with time, etc. David Kusche and other researchers have shown that some of these cases took place outside of the Bermuda Triangle. Official information on some incidents are impossible to find. However, unusual behaviour of compasses in the area of the Bermuda Triangle was even mentioned as far back as by Christopher Columbus in his diaries of sea navigation. Many eyewitnesses shared their experiences that took place in the Bermuda Triangle, among which were strange behaviour of compasses, entering into tunnels, unusual clouds, entering into unusual rotating substances similar to eggnog and exiting from them through something similar to a curtain, an unusual luminescence, sparks, and others.

Contrails form while exiting the tunnel. Courtesy of Bruce Gernon. (Image taken from: www.bermuda-triangle.org)

Well-known scientists like Michio Kaku and Albert Einstein put forward theories about refraction of time. Einstein spoke about “the river of time.” Michio Kaku, a world-famous modern physicist, has put forward a theory saying that “the river of time” can twist into itself, which leads to the formation of “whirlpools of time” through which it is possible to enter into other times-spaces and also that this “the river of time” can fork. Michio Kaku also claims that many parallel worlds (times-spaces) exist in the same place.

Master Li Hongzhi, the founder of the spiritual practice Falun Dafa gives a similar explanation to the phenomenon of the Bermuda Triangle in his book, Falun Gong:

“Even though some people don’t admit the existence of certain things, they have actually manifested in our dimension. For example, there is a place called the Bermuda Triangle (or ‘Devil’s Triangle’). Some ships and planes have disappeared in that area, only to re-emerge years later. No one can explain why, as no one has gone beyond the confines of human thinking and theories. In fact, the Triangle is a gateway to another dimension. Unlike our regular doors that have definite positions, its status is always unpredictable. A ship can easily enter another dimension if it passes through when the door there happens to be open. Human beings cannot sense the differences between the dimensions, and they enter into the other dimension instantly. The differences in time and space between that dimension and our dimension can’t be expressed in miles—a distance of thousands of miles there might be contained in one point here. That is, they might exist in the same place and at the same time. The ship swings in for a moment and comes back out again by accident. Yet decades have passed in this world, since time is different in the two dimensions. There are also unitary worlds existing in each dimension. It’s similar to our models of atomic structures wherein one ball is connected to another by a string, involving many balls and strings. It is very complex.

A British pilot was carrying out a mission four years prior to World War II. In the middle of his flight he ran into a heavy thunderstorm. By drawing on past experience, he was able to find an abandoned airport. The moment the airport appeared before his eyes, a completely different picture came into view: All of a sudden it was sunny and cloudless, as if he had just emerged from another world. The airplanes at the airport were painted yellow, and people were busy doing things on the ground. He thought it was so odd! No one acknowledged him after he touched down even the control tower didn’t contact him. The pilot then decided to leave since the sky had cleared up. He flew again, and when he was at the same distance at which he had seen the airport moments ago, he again found himself in a thunderstorm. He eventually managed to get back to his base. He reported the affair and even wrote it down in the flight record. But his superiors didn’t believe him. Four years later World War II broke out, and he was transferred to that same abandoned airport. He immediately recalled that it was exactly the same scene he had seen four years earlier. We qigong masters know how to explain it. He did in advance what he would do four years later. Before the event had begun, he had gone there and played his role in advance. Things then returned to the correct order.” (Falun Gong, Chapter 1, (4) Dimensions)

It is left for the readers to reflect on this theme and to make their own conclusions.


Famous Bermuda Triangle Disappearance May Have Been Botched Mutiny

When the U.S.S. Cyclops went off the grid somewhere north of Barbados, it became one of the most popular examples of the uncanny dangers lurking within the Bermuda Triangle.

One of the Navy&rsquos largest fuel ships, the Cyclops was last seen on this day, Mar. 4, in 1918, when it stopped in the West Indies on its way from Brazil to Baltimore, carrying 10,800 tons of manganese ore to be used in manufacturing munitions. But the ship never made it to Baltimore, nor did any of its 300 or so passengers and crewmembers. Despite an exhaustive search effort, no trace was ever found of the ship, and Naval investigators never landed on a definite cause for its disappearance.

What made it all the more mysterious, according to a contemporary New York Times account, was that the captain never sent a distress signal, nor did anyone aboard respond to radio calls by the hundreds of American ships in the vicinity. What&rsquos more, there were no storms strong enough to cause the Cyclops to founder, according to the Times, which went on to suggest that the ship might have been the target of German mines or U-boats. According to the Naval History and Heritage Command, one contemporary magazine suggested that a giant octopus had &ldquo[risen] from the sea, entwined the ship with its tentacles, and dragged it to the bottom.&rdquo

The Navy, however, discounted the likelihood of either German or giant octopus attacks, opening the door to more supernatural speculation, and the Cyclops joined the list of more than 100 ships and planes to have disappeared under strange circumstances in the triangular region roughly bounded by Bermuda, Miami and Puerto Rico.

While the Bermuda Triangle became a cultural fixation of the 1950s and 1960s, it has by now been repeatedly and comprehensively debunked. Its reputation as a kind of earthly black hole suffers every time a vanished plane or vessel reemerges.

And although there&rsquos still no trace of the Cyclops, there is, at least, an alternate explanation. It centers on a captain more eccentric than Ahab, with a fondness for &ldquopacing the quarterdeck wearing a hat, a cane and his underwear,&rdquo and against whom some of his crew had already attempted a mutiny before they reached Barbados, per the Navy. As quoted in Gian Quasar&rsquos book Distant Horizons, the U.S. Consul in Barbados wrote to the State Department following the ship&rsquos disappearance, noting that the captain had appeared to be deeply disliked by his fellow officers, and that in suppressing the recent mutiny attempt, he had imprisoned members of his crew and executed one.

&ldquoWhile not having any definite grounds I fear fate worse than sinking,&rdquo the consul writes, &ldquothough possibly based on instinctive dislike felt towards master.&rdquo

Read about the 1991 discovery of five lost bombers, here in the TIME archives: Lost Squadron

Correction: The original version of this post included a reference to the Lost Squadron of Navy bombers being found in 1991. It was later discovered that the wreckage had been misidentified.


Found Wreckage May Shed Light on Missing 1945 Aircraft Patrol

You are a Navy pilot assigned to Flight 19 under the command of Lieutenant Charles Carroll Taylor. Nothing spectacular was on the docket for the day, only a routine navigation and combat training exercise. Little did you know, this would be your last flight.

On that fateful day back in 1945, five Navy TBM Avenger torpedo bombers took to the skies on what was supposed to be a routine training flight. The planned flight plan took the bombers eastward headed away from Miami Florida where they would turn north, drop their ordinance, and then turn back west toward home. Everything went to plan… until it didn’t. Unless otherwise noted, source material for this story is from War History Online.

Sometime after dropping their ordinance, the navigation system on the lead aircraft began to malfunction. After encountering an unexpected weather front that brought heavy winds, rain, and cloud cover, Lieutenant Taylor made the executive decision to turn the flight northeast.

This decision was not the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for aircraft operating in the Atlantic. Pilots who flew in this area were instructed to turn west and head toward the sunset if they ever got disoriented or lost.

It is believed that if Flight 19 had turned their heading to the west, they would have found land and eventually regained their course.

Lieutenant Taylor believed that they had been blown down into the Gulf by the foul weather and by turning northeast, they would reach land. Radio communication between the Flight 19 crew indicated that not all members of the flight agreed with Lieutenant Taylor’s call and that one plane may have broken off and attempted to make the return flight alone.

A massive search was immediately launched but nothing was located. No bodies, no aircraft – at least that’s what the official story states. There have been several independent investigations that have attempted to locate this missing flight but all efforts eventually reach a wall of silence.

One such “wall of silence” was encountered by a lawyer out of Florida by the name of Graham Stikelether in 1963. While hunting in a Florida swamp, Stikelether discovered wreckage matching the aircraft from Flight 19. Not only did Stikelether find the wreckage, but the deceased crew of the aircraft was still on board. After reporting the wreckage to the authorities, Stikelether reached out to a contact of his at the Pentagon who instructed him to drop the case.

To this day no one has conclusively proven what happened to the men of Flight 19. This occurrence did take place near the infamous “Bermuda Triangle” and with the government closing the door on this case in the manner they have, it does appear something is amiss.

So…what do you think happened on that day in 1945? Share this out on Facebook and Twitter and let us know!


Bermuda Triangle Flight 19: The Lost Patrol from Fort Lauderdale

On Dec. 5, 1945, four months after the end of World War II, five “Avenger” torpedo bombers took off from the Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale. Referred to now as "Bermuda Triangle Flight 19," they were headed east for the Bahamas to practice bombing runs on a sunken ship. The five planes – and their 14 crew members – never returned.

After they radioed a distress call to the base, a PBM-Mariner “Flying Boat” search plane was sent out to look for Flight 19. That plane – and its 13 crew members – never came back, either.

There was no “hostile action” the war was over. There were no reports of large storms over the ocean. There were no reports of any crashes in the area. And no wreckage ever found. Six planes, and 27 crew members, simply disappeared.

Some have blamed “The Bermuda Triangle,” that mysterious watery graveyard in which countless ships and planes have been lost. Although a few World War II planes have been found in the area, none has ever been positively identified as being from Flight 19, or as the rescue plane.

As the years went by, and the legends piled up, Flight 19 became known as “The Lost Patrol.”

Today, in an old, ramshackle barracks building on the periphery of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport – the only original structure still remaining on the site of the Naval Air Station – the Lost Patrol is memorialized in this historical Florida site.

Inside this old museum, maintained and managed by the Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Historical Association, it’s 1944 again. The world is at war. And the uniforms, training equipment, posters, machines, flags, teletypes, mock training aircraft and medals of those days are on display, along with built-to-scale models of planes and ships, larger-than-life paintings, flight record – and the “George Bush Room,” a reproduction of the barracks room used by future-President George H. W. Bush when he trained here as an 18-year-old “Avenger” pilot before shipping out to the Pacific.

Here, every Dec. 5, surviving veterans who served at Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale, along with friends and families, gather for a ceremony memorializing the crewmen of Bermuda Triangle Flight 19, the crewmen of the “Flying Boat” that searched for them and the 68 other flyers from this base who died in WWII.

Before the war, this was empty land. By 1943, however, more than 2,500 men (and women) were based here, including not only pilots, but also machinists, communications specialists, gunners, and weapons specialists. And they weren’t only Americans a number of Britons trained here, as well.

On that fateful morning of Dec. 5, the weather was described by the base water specialists as “Favorable… sea state moderate to rough.” Ninety minutes after the five Avengers of Flight 19 took off toward the Bahamas, when the tower at the Naval Air Station had been expecting to hear a request for landing instructions, they were surprised to hear Mission Commander Charles Taylor radio that he was lost.

“Cannot see land,” Taylor said. “We seem to be off-course.”

“What is your position?” the tower at the Naval Air Station responded. There were several moments of silence.

“We cannot be sure where we are,” Taylor said. “Repeat: Cannot see land.”

Contact was lost for the next ten minutes. Then the tower received another transmission from Taylor’s Avenger. But it wasn’t from Taylor it was from one of the crew.

“We can’t find West. Everything is wrong. We can’t be sure of any direction. Everything looks strange… even the ocean.”

Then there was another delay, after which a voice bordering on hysteria (not Taylor’s) radioed the tower.

“We can’t tell where we are… everything is… can’t make out anything. We think we may be about 225 miles northeast of base…”

That pilot rambled on nervously for a few minutes and then uttered the last words ever heard from Flight 19.

“It looks like we are entering white water… We’re completely lost.”

For the next several days, hundreds of aircraft and ships combed the waters searching for survivors, or wreckage. But nothing was ever found.

Ever since, researchers have been trying to figure out what happened to the five planes of Flight 19, and to the “Flying Boat” aircraft that went searching for them.

In addition to the Bermuda Triangle theory, a number of other theories have been bandied about. But most experts believe that Flight 19 simply went off course – northward to the open sea rather than eastward toward the Bahamas – and then each plane ran out of gas and had to ditch. But that theory still doesn’t explain the disappearance of the rescue plane.

Today, a local doctor named John Bloom and his wife, Minerva, volunteer at the museum, along with Debbie McIlhenny, daughter of the museum’s founder, a World War II sailor named John McIlhenny. In this small old barracks from another time, they lovingly care for one of the finest collections of World War II items in America.

But, like everyone else who’s tried to figure it out, they can’t answer the question for sure, either.

What, exactly, happened to the Lost Patrol? And what happened to the rescue aircraft sent out to search for them?

Was it entirely-logical circumstance? Or was it the Bermuda Triangle?

When you go…


The Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum
4000 West Perimeter Rd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315
(754) 300-9259 or (954) 359-4400
Call ahead to reserve a tour.
Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.


75 Years Ago Today, Five Planes Disappeared Over The Bermuda Triangle

We’ve been losing things over the Bermuda Triangle for over 100 years, but one of the strangest occurrences took place 75 years ago today, on December 5, 1945. Five torpedo bombers up and disappeared during a three-hour training mission out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. All 14 airmen were lost—alongside an additional 13 members of the search crew.

(Welcome to Today in History, the series where we dive into important historical events that have had a significant impact on the automotive or racing world. If you have something you’d like to see that falls on an upcoming weekend, let me know at eblackstock [at] jalopnik [dot] com.)

At 2:10 p.m. on December 5, 1945, five TBM Avenger torpedo bombers took off to tackle a three-hour exercise called Navigation Problem Number One. Their flight plan was set to look like a triangle, requiring Flight 19 to head east to conduct a bombing run, then turn north over the Bahamas, before turning southwest and flying back to base. Most everyone on that run was a skilled pilot, having logged 300 hours of air time.

That first leg went by without problem. Then things got weird. Flight leader Lieutenant Charles C. Taylor became convinced that his compass was malfunctioning and that he was leading his crew in the wrong direction. Things weren’t helped when a gusty storm swept through, further disorienting everyone.

“I don’t know where we are,” one of the pilots said over the radio. “We must have got lost after that last turn.”

Things got even weirder. From History :

Lieutenant Robert F. Cox, another Navy flight instructor who was flying near the Florida coast, was the first to overhear the patrol’s radio communications. He immediately informed the Air Station of the situation and then contacted the Avengers to ask if they needed assistance. “Both my compasses are out and I’m trying to find Ft. Lauderdale, Florida,” Taylor said, his voice sounding anxious. “I’m over land, but it’s broken. I’m sure I’m in the Keys, but I don’t know how far down.”

Taylor’s claim didn’t seem to make sense. He’d made his scheduled pass over Hens and Chicken Shoals in the Bahamas less than an hour earlier, but he now believed his planes had somehow drifted hundreds of miles off course and ended up in the Florida Keys.

Under normal circumstances, pilots were supposed to fly toward the setting sun, but Taylor decided to fly farther out to sea. By the time he got things righted, the planes were getting dangerously close to running out of fuel.

Just after 6pm, radio communications were lost.

Around 7:30, the Navy sent out a pair of PBM Mariner flying boats to hunt for the lost planes. Before 8pm, one of the boats fell off the radar.

Starting the next day, search parties went out in search of both Flight 19 and the missing Mariner. Despite hundreds of planes on the search, the planes were never recovered.

There are a lot of different explanations for why this particular area of the Atlantic Ocean tends to swallow up crafts that pass through. If you like a more mystical flavor, you can blame the sunken city of Atlantis or UFOs. If you’re interested in a more natural, scientific explanation, there are plenty to choose from: changing compasses due to odd magnetic forces, the Gulf Stream, bad weather, methane seeping out of continental shelves, or just plain old human error. My mom watches enough alien mystery shows that I’ll let y’all choose whichever answer you like.

In this particular case, the Mariner flying boats were known to explode, and that’s very likely what happened to the rescue boat that went missing. As far as Lieutenant Taylor’s confusion goes, he had just transferred from Fort Lauderdale from Miami, so some people have hypothesized that he confused the Bahamas with the Florida Keys. As far as the planes themselves, they’re likely somewhere out in the ocean. But it’s still one of those weird unsolved mysteries that haunts people to this day.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.


What Is the Connection Between the Bermuda Triangle and Amelia Earhart?

There is no connection between the Bermuda Triangle and Amelia Earhart. The Bermuda Triangle is an area of the Atlantic Ocean where airplanes have mysteriously disappeared. Amelia Earhart was an American pilot who disappeared while flying over the Pacific Ocean.

Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean solo. Then in 1937, she attempted to become the first woman to make a solo flight around the world. While flying over the Pacific Ocean, Earhart radioed that she was running low on fuel and could not see the landing strip. Her plane went down, but neither Earhart nor the plane were ever found. What happened to Earhart remains a mystery to this day.

Some people mistakenly believe that Amelia Earhart disappeared in what is known as "The Bermuda Triangle," an area of the Atlantic Ocean approximately outlined by drawing a triangle between Florida, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico. Over the years, ships and planes have disappeared while crossing through that area. One of the most famous disappearances happened in 1945, when five Navy torpedo bombers disappeared during a training exercise more than 100 miles off the coast of Florida. When a search and rescue plane was sent to look for them, it too disappeared. None of the planes were ever found.


75 Years Ago, Five Planes Disappeared Over The Bermuda Triangle

We’ve been losing things over the Bermuda Triangle for over 100 years, but one of the strangest occurrences took place 75 years ago, on December 5, 1945. Five torpedo bombers up and disappeared during a three-hour training mission out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. All 14 airmen were lost — alongside an additional 13 members of the search crew.

At 2:10 p.m. on December 5, 1945, five TBM Avenger torpedo bombers took off to tackle a three-hour exercise called Navigation Problem Number One. Their flight plan was set to look like a triangle, requiring Flight 19 to head east to conduct a bombing run, then turn north over the Bahamas, before turning southwest and flying back to base. Most everyone on that run was a skilled pilot, having logged 300 hours of air time.

That first leg went by without problem. Then things got weird. Flight leader Lieutenant Charles C. Taylor became convinced that his compass was malfunctioning and that he was leading his crew in the wrong direction. Things weren’t helped when a gusty storm swept through, further disorienting everyone.

“I don’t know where we are,” one of the pilots said over the radio. “We must have got lost after that last turn.”

Things got even weirder. From History:

Lieutenant Robert F. Cox, another Navy flight instructor who was flying near the Florida coast, was the first to overhear the patrol’s radio communications. He immediately informed the Air Station of the situation and then contacted the Avengers to ask if they needed assistance. “Both my compasses are out and I’m trying to find Ft. Lauderdale, Florida,” Taylor said, his voice sounding anxious. “I’m over land, but it’s broken. I’m sure I’m in the Keys, but I don’t know how far down.”

Taylor’s claim didn’t seem to make sense. He’d made his scheduled pass over Hens and Chicken Shoals in the Bahamas less than an hour earlier, but he now believed his planes had somehow drifted hundreds of miles off course and ended up in the Florida Keys.

Under normal circumstances, pilots were supposed to fly toward the setting sun, but Taylor decided to fly farther out to sea. By the time he got things righted, the planes were getting dangerously close to running out of fuel.

Just after 6pm, radio communications were lost.

Around 7:30, the Navy sent out a pair of PBM Mariner flying boats to hunt for the lost planes. Before 8pm, one of the boats fell off the radar.

Starting the next day, search parties went out in search of both Flight 19 and the missing Mariner. Despite hundreds of planes on the search, the planes were never recovered.

There are a lot of different explanations for why this particular area of the Atlantic Ocean tends to swallow up crafts that pass through. If you like a more mystical flavour, you can blame the sunken city of Atlantis or UFOs. If you’re interested in a more natural, scientific explanation, there are plenty to choose from: changing compasses due to odd magnetic forces, the Gulf Stream, bad weather, methane seeping out of continental shelves, or just plain old human error. My mum watches enough alien mystery shows that I’ll let y’all choose whichever answer you like.

In this particular case, the Mariner flying boats were known to explode, and that’s very likely what happened to the rescue boat that went missing. As far as Lieutenant Taylor’s confusion goes, he had just transferred from Fort Lauderdale from Miami, so some people have hypothesised that he confused the Bahamas with the Florida Keys. As far as the planes themselves, they’re likely somewhere out in the ocean. But it’s still one of those weird unsolved mysteries that haunts people to this day.