The Bermuda (Devil's) Triangle

The Bermuda (Devil’s) Triangle is located in the Atlantic Ocean off the east coast of North America. The three points of the triangle are Miami, Florida; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and the island of Bermuda. The area covers a half million square miles and is allegedly home to mysterious forces which are responsible for the disappearance of a disproportionate number of ships and planes.

The name “Bermuda Triangle” is generally attributed to writer Vincent H. Gaddis 
who first used it in a 1964 article he wrote for Argosy magazine.

Gaddis may have given the region a name, but he was neither the first nor would he be the last to attribute peculiar goings on to the watery expanse.

George X. Sand drew public attention to the area in 1952, in an article he wrote for Fate magazine in which he alluded to a higher than normal incidence of strange events occurring in the Atlantic Ocean to the east of Miami. The editorial entitled “Sea Mystery at our Back Door” added the mystifying disappearance of five U.S. Navy TBM Avenger torpedo bombers along with the loss of a Martin Mariner flying boat, involved in the subsequent search and rescue attempt, to the locales growing reputation.

A steady stream of books, magazine articles, documentaries and movies followed, each espousing their own theories. By 1974 the triangle had become one of the hottest topics in ufology and Charles Berlitz’s book “The Bermuda Triangle” published that year became an instant bestseller.

Reasons for the alleged strange occurrences are all over the map, ranging from the mundane to the truly bizarre such as Atlantis, UFOs, doorways into other dimensions, black holes and gigantic sea monsters.
Exaggeration and disinformation often play a part, ships said to have disappeared while plying calm seas are instead found to have sunk during vicious storms, while others supposedly “mysteriously vanished” have in fact not vanished at all their disappearance easily explained.

In particular the controversy surrounding the disappearance of Flight 19 seems more hype than substance. While certainly a tragedy it appears to be more the result of pilot error than alien intervention. The flight's Avengers, manned by student pilots with Lt. Charles Taylor the flight's instructor commanding, were to conduct practice bombing runs 56 nautical miles (64 mi; 104 km) due east of the Naval Air Station at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after which they were to continue east for a further 67 nautical miles (77 mi; 124 km) then north for 73 nautical miles (84 mi; 135 km) before returning to base.

According to a radio message sent by Taylor ninety minutes after their departure, his compass was malfunctioning and he was unsure of his location. At this point thinking he was flying north, Taylor was apparently flying east out to sea. Transmissions picked up by the mainland would seem to indicate that at least some of the students were aware of the situation and were urging the flight’s commander to reverse direction. “If we would just fly west” one student was heard telling another “we would get home.” Unfortunately, for whatever his reasons, Taylor refused to alter course. When asked he also refused to relinquish command.

A final radio fix on the bombers indicated they were flying northeast, the weather rapidly deteriorating. Eventually, beyond communication range and out of fuel, the planes would have crashed. Following impact, rough seas and high waves would have swamped the aircraft their heavy metal bodies quickly dragging them under.

A search carried out that night and the following day by navy search planes found nothing. One of the planes a Martin Mariner also went missing probably the result of an explosion. The Mariner had a reputation of being extremely unsafe and was often referred to as a “flying bomb.”

A ship in the vicinity did in fact report an explosion and upon reaching the site apparently found aircraft debris. Of the Avengers no trace has ever been found.

In the final analysis the mystery of the so called Bermuda Triangle would appear to be little more than a combination of bad judgment, bad weather, bad luck, over active imaginations and hype. Statistics released by the famous maritime insurance company Lloyds of London and confirmed by the U.S. Coast Guard seemingly bear this out, indicating the area inside the triangle to be no more dangerous than that found outside.

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