The Bermuda Triangle
Off the southern tip of Florida lies a phenomenon called the Bermuda Triangle. Ships, planes, and over one thousand lives were lost in the Triangle without a trace. Theories have been put forth, but still no universally accepted explanation exists for the mystery that surrounds the Bermuda Triangle.
The Bermuda Triangle covers almost 440,000 square miles of the Atlantic Ocean. An imaginary line that begins near Melbourne, Florida, extends south to Bermuda, and west to Puerto Rico before turning north to Florida, forms the Triangle. From 1972-1999, more than one hundred planes and ships have vanished into thin air. More than one thousand lives have been lost as well. One frightening aspect of this entire saga is that disappearances continue to occur at an alarming rate.
A small part of the Bermuda Triangle lies in the Sargasso Sea. This sea is best known for its tall, thick, floating seaweed called Sargassum. The seaweed is thought to be a forest that once rested on an island in the Atlantic Ocean. According to legend, the island sank at a very quick pace, taking with it the forest and vegetation.
One of the most notable disappearances is that of Flight 19. The flight consisted of five Navy TBM Avenger torpedo bomber planes. Mechanics had certified the planes fit for flight. Flight planes were checked thoroughly and appropriately filed with the proper authorities. There were no indications that this mission would be anything other than a routine experience for the crews of these aircraft. Even the weather was cooperation. The forecast predicted clear skies and calm winds.
Flight 19 left the Fort Lauderdale Airport at 2:10 p.m. on December 5, 1945. At 3:40 p.m. Lieutenant Robert Cox noticed his radio begin to crackle. The transmission seemed to be directed to "Powers." The person identified himself as FT-28, the call sign for Flight 19. FT-28 radioed that both of his compasses were out, and he was trying to find land.
At 4:26 p.m. Fort Everglades Rescue intercepted a transmission from FT-28. Immediately, the rescue team called several stations along the coast and asked them to turn on their radar and attempt to locate the lost flight. At 6:04 p.m. Lieutenant Taylor radioed his flight crew to tell them they were off course and needed to adjust their course to a more easterly direction. That exercise appears to have mysteriously taken them further from land. At 7:04 p.m. all radio communication ceased.
In an attempt to find the lost flight, a Martin Mariner PBM-5 flying boat was sent to search for the mission squadron. The flying boat left Fort Lauderdale Airport at 7:27 p.m. At 7:30 p.m. the plane's radio failed, and flight disappeared forever.
By dawn on December 6, 1945, the largest search and rescue mission over air and sea was underway. Before the sun would rise that day, over 240 planes and 18 ships would be deployed to search for Flight 19. Later that morning, the Royal Air Force would send out planes to assist in the search. Numerous land teams would crisscross the Bahamas and the Florida Keys searching in vain for signs of survivors or wreckage that may have washed ashore. One search and rescue ship, the S.S. Gaines Mills, radioed at 7:50 p.m. that they had observed a burst of flames that rose one hundred feet high and lasted for about ten minutes. Ships and planes rushed to the area, but no signs of debris or survivors were found.
After five days of intense searching, the rescue mission was canceled. No wreckage, survivors, or explanations were found for the disappearance of Flight 19. Forty-six years later, May 8, 1991, a computer-controlled submarine scanned the ocean floor for sunken galleons. On this day, the crew of the Deep Sea would be unsuccessful in their search for galleons. Instead, 750 feet below the surface of the ocean, they would discover the outline of an airplane that clearly appeared to be a Navy Avenger. Two hundred yards...
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