Local News Update

The Bermuda Triangle

The History of The Bermuda Triangle

The earliest allegation of unusual disappearances in the Bermuda area appeared in a September 16, 1950 Associated Press article by Edward Van Winkle Jones.Two years later, Fate magazine published "Sea Mystery at Our Back Door", a short article by George X. Sand covering the loss of several planes and ships, including the loss of Flight 19, a group of five U.S. Navy TBM Avenger bombers on a training mission. Sand's article was the first to lay out the now-familiar triangular area where the losses took place. Flight 19 alone would be covered again in the April 1962 issue of American Legion magazine.It was claimed that the flight leader had been heard saying, "We are entering white water, nothing seems right. We don't know where we are, the water is green, no white." It was also claimed that officials at the Navy board of inquiry stated that the planes "flew off to Mars." Sand's article was the first to suggest a supernatural element to the Flight 19 incident. In the February 1964 issue of Argosy, Vincent Gaddis's article "The Deadly Bermuda Triangle" argued that Flight 19 and other disappearances were part of a pattern of strange events in the region. The next year, Gaddis expanded this article into a book,Invisible Horizons.

Flight 19

The Disappearance of Flight 19

At about 2:10 p.m. on the afternoon of 5 December 1945, Flight 19, consisting of five TBM Avenger Torpedo Bombers (manufactured by the Eastern Aircraft under license from Grumman) departed from the U. S. Naval Air Station, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on an authorized advanced overwater navigational training flight. They were to execute navigation problem No. 1, which is as follows: (1) depart 26 degrees 03 minutes north and 80 degrees 07 minutes west and fly 091 degrees (T) distance 56 miles to Hen and Chickens Shoals to conduct low level bombing, after bombing continue on course 091 degrees (T) for 67 miles, (2) fly course 346 degrees (T) distance 73 miles and (3) fly course 241 degrees (T) distance 120 miles, then returning to U. S. Naval Air Station, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.In charge of the flight was a senior qualified flight instructor, piloting one of the planes. The other planes were piloted by qualified pilots with between 350 and 400 hours flight time of which at least 55 was in TBM type aircraft. The weather over the area covered by the track of the navigational problem consisted of scattered rain showers with a ceiling of 2500 feet within the showers and unlimited outside the showers, visibility of 6-8 miles in the showers, 10-12 otherwise. Surface winds were 20 knots with gusts to 31 knots. The sea was moderate to rough. The general weather conditions were considered average for training flights of this nature except within showers.A radio message intercepted at about 4 p.m. was the first indication that Flight 19 was lost. This message, believed to be between the leader on Flight 19 and another pilot in the same flight, indicated that the instructor was uncertain of his position and the direction of the Florida coast. The aircraft also were experiencing malfunction of their compasses. Attempts to establish communications on the training frequency were unsatisfactory due to interference from Cuba broadcasting stations, static, and atmospheric conditions. All radio contact was lost before the exact nature of the trouble or the location of the flight could be determined. Indications are that the flight became lost somewhere east of the Florida peninsula and was unable to determine a course to return to their base. The flight was never heard from again and no trace of the planes were ever found. It is assumed that they made forced landings at sea, in darkness somewhere east of the Florida peninsula, possibly after running out of gas. It is known that the fuel carried by the aircraft would have been completely exhausted by 8 p.m. The sea in that presumed area was rough and unfavorable for a water landing. It is also possible that some unexpected and unforeseen development of weather conditions may have intervened although there is no evidence of freak storms in the area at the time.