When they finished with the practice, the flight plan called for
them to fly another 67 miles east, then turn north for 73 miles and
finally come back to the base, which was another 120 miles. This
course formed a triangular path over the sea. After one and half
hours, Lt. Robert Cox, got a radio signal from Lt. Taylor, saying
that his compasses were not working and he believed to be flying
over the Florida Keys which are a long chain of islands, south of
the Florida mainland. Cox, instructed him to fly north towards
Miami. Back in 1945, if a pilot made mistakes while flying over the
sea, i.e. not knowing the starting point, how long and fast he flew
and in what direction, then he would get lost. There were no
landmarks to set him right!
At some point, Taylor did get confused. Though he was an experienced
pilot, he did not have much knowledge about the place he was flying
to and this led to deadly results. The flight team started at
around 2:10 p.m. and by 4:45 p.m. they were hopelessly lost. It grew
darker and the communication kept deteriorating. He was told to let
one of the students' take the flight controls but apparently, that
did not happen. From the few words that reached the station, they
were still flying in the wrong direction.
At around 5:50 p.m. the Corn Gulf Sea Frontier Evaluation Centre
managed to get a fix on Flight 19’s weakening signals, but then the
communications were so poor they could not guide the planes. At 6:20
a Dumbo Flying Boat was sent to try and find Flight 19 and guide it
back. In an hour two other flights, Martin Mariners, were sent and
joined the quest. The weather was getting rough and the Avengers
were very low on the fuel. Though the two Martin Mariners were
supposed to meet at the Search Zone, the second one never returned.
The last transmission from Flight 19 was heard at around 7:04 p.m.
Planes searched the area that night and the whole of next day but
there was no sign of any aircraft.
After the fuel got exhausted the avengers must have hit the bottom
in seconds as the so-called "Iron Birds" weighed 14, 000 pounds when
empty. So where did the Martin Mariner disappear? The crew of SS
Gaines Mill had seen an explosion shortly after the Mariner took
off. As they rushed to the site, they saw some oil, and airplane
fragments floating, but it did not seem like the remains of the
So why did this tragic story come under one of the Bermuda Triangle
Mystery? The U.S. Navy’s original investigation said that the
accident was caused by Taylor’s confusion, but Taylor’s mother
disagreed and later on the report said the causes or reasons were
So where is the Flight 19 now? In 1991, Five Avengers were found
off the Florida coast by a rescue ship. However examination showed
that they were not Flight 19. The conclusion being that the planes
and the crew of Flight 19 remain a Bermuda triangle mystery!
An aircraft "DC-3" disappeared in the area in 1948. It
was carrying 27 passengers. In 1951, "C-124 Globemaster"
carrying 53 passengers was reported missing.
A tanker ship "Marine Sulfur Queen" with 39 men aboard in
1963 and the nuclear- powered submarine "Scorpion" with a
crew of 99 in 1968 have been missing too.
The Countless Theories
Extensive search and study have been attempted on the mysterious
disappearances. Are there actually supernatural things occurring
on the Bermuda triangle? Are extraterrestrial beings abducting
people and the vessels?
One of the most popular theory, which seem convincing, mentions the
peculiarity of the
surroundings and human error. The "Devil’s Triangle"
has rather unique environmental features. Firstly, it is one
of the two places on earth that the magnetic compass points towards
the actual north, otherwise generally the compass points towards the
magnetic north. Now this point is of serious issue because the
compass variation (that is the difference between the two) may go
up to as much as 20 degrees as one orbits around the earth. If
the compass variation is not counterpoised, a navigator could be
traveling off his actual course and then find himself in deep
Some other theories say that there might be a "Hole in the
sky", due to action of forces unknown to science. This is formed
due to some unusual chemical component found in the sea water of
It is seen that actually some of these incidents have taken place
outside the location of the Bermuda triangle. The primary reasons being,
darkness, mechanical problems or defective equipment.
Despite the investigations made by researchers, it is recorded that
most of the disappearances occurred when the weather was favorable,
in daylight after a sudden break in radio contact and these vessels
and flights just vanished, without a sign. Skeptics would like to
believe that these so called "mysteries" are the result of careless
or biased consideration of data. Taking for instance, the case of
Flight 19, the squadron commander was comparatively inexperienced
and the commander failed to follow the instructions, the compass was
faulty, and the aircraft was operating under conditions of
deteriorating weather, visibility and low fuel supply.
Though the scientific evaluations of the Bermuda Triangle have
resolved that most of the disappearances have logical explanations,
people are not convinced.
For Further Reading
The cover article in the August 1968
Argosy, "The Spreading Mystery of the Bermuda Triangle".
An article in August 4, 1968,
"Limbo of Lost Ships", by Leslie Lieber.
Also, many newspapers carried a
December 22, 1967 National Geographic Society news release
which was derived largely from Vincent Gaddis' Invisible
Horizons: True Mysteries of the Sea. "The Triangle of
Death", in Mr. Gaddis' book, presents the most comprehensive
account of the mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle.
Perhaps the most interesting letter,
which appeared in the May 1964 Argosy's "Back Talk"
section, recounts a mysterious and frightening incident in an
aircraft flying over the area in 1944.