Facts about Bermuda Triangle
A mysterious place in the Atlantic
The Bermuda Triangle, also known as the Devil's Triangle, is a maritime area in the Atlantic Ocean. It lies north of the Caribbean, roughly between southern Florida, Puerto Rico and Bermuda. The site has gained a mysterious reputation due to several ship and plane disasters that have actually or allegedly occurred there, accidents in which ships and planes have "disappeared."
Since these events have not been fully explained, it has stimulated the imagination and inspired many people to various publications, literary works, and movies suggesting a mystery. There are many theories about these mysterious events. Still, the truth is that the number of disasters at this location does not exceed the number of such accidents elsewhere on the seas.
1The Bermuda Triangle is a loosely defined region in the western North Atlantic, encompassing the area between South Florida, Puerto Rico and Bermuda.
Some extend its area even to include the coast of Ireland.
2The place has gained mythical status because of, some argue, an above-average number of ship and aircraft disappearances.
However, studies have shown that no more accidents occur in the Triangle area than in any other part of the Atlantic.
3The term "Bermuda Triangle" first came into existence in 1952 in an article that appeared in the American magazine Fate.
The article described a supposedly supernatural phenomenon, and the story of the Bermuda Triangle became a myth soon. Interest in the phenomenon peaked in 1974 after Charles Berlitz and J. Manson Valentine published the book The Bermuda Triangle, which became a bestseller selling millions of copies worldwide.
4All the stories about this place are very similar.
They describe ships or planes that disappeared in the area without a trace, in the best weather conditions, on calm seas, with an experienced crew. Or abandoned, completely undisturbed ghost ships floating at sea without a crew. There were also reports of vague, strange radio messages in some cases.
5Abduction by extraterrestrials or a dangerous "force field" emanating from the sunken continent of Atlantis have been mentioned as potential causes of these events.
In describing these sensational reports, their authors have also begun to reach far into the past, all the way back to Christopher Columbus, who supposedly saw magical lights in the Bermuda Triangle (it is assumed that Columbus saw what was profitable for him to see).
6A year after Berlitz and Valentine's bestseller, the book "Bermuda Triangle Mystery - Solved" by Lawrence Kusche was published.
Still considered a classic of skeptical research, this work explains a whole string of assumptions, half-truths and fiction on the subject. Kusche showed that nothing in this part of the Atlantic is unusual. The number of disappearing ships and aircraft is no greater than in other areas of the world's oceans with comparable traffic. The vast majority of cases lost their mysterious nimbus entirely.
Many ship and aircraft accidents still occur in the Atlantic but are rarely associated with the Bermuda Triangle.
7The best documented and most quoted in the history of the Bermuda Triangle is Flight 19.
In an incident on December 5, 1945, five American bombers and one search plane were lost - the planes were never found.
According to radio reports from the crew, the five bombers with instructor Lieutenant Taylor, who was flying in the area for the first time, got lost during a training flight east of Florida when they ran out of fuel. At the time, the area had rough seas and strong winds, making the launch unsafe (no trace of the aircraft was discovered). A search plane that took off later was also lost, but more than 200 km northwest of the Bermuda Triangle boundary. A large oil stain was found in the sea where it presumably crashed, but nothing else.
8Another event was the disappearance of the coal ship USS Cyclops on March 4, 1918.
After leaving Barbados under unexplained circumstances, The U.S. Navy ship disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle area. It is believed that the collier was unfavorably loaded, had a damaged engine, and sank in a sudden storm. The shipwreck and the 306 people on board were never found.
9The Star Tiger passenger plane also went missing in 1948.
A British South American Airways (BSAA) Avro 688 Tudor Mark IV passenger plane carrying 31 people disappeared during an overnight flight from Santa Maria Airport in the Azores to Kindley Field, Bermuda. The machine was making a transatlantic flight at an extremely low altitude of only about 610 m. The crew reported no problems.
The low-flying aircraft was observed on the night of the crash from the deck of a merchant ship. It veered off course and toward the east coast of the United States. Two days after the plane's disappearance, in an extensive search operation, the remains of the machine were spotted at sea, but they could not be clearly identified. It is believed that the reason plane crashed was the lack of fuel. Although the machine disappeared north of Bermuda, far outside the Bermuda Triangle, supporters of the mystery hypothesis attribute another case of mysterious disappearance to it.
10There have been many more cases of such mysterious disappearances.
These include :
- the disappearance of a Douglas DC-3 passenger plane with 32 people on board on December 28, 1948,
- the disappearance of a Star Ariel passenger plane on January 17, 1949 with 20 people on board,
- disappearance in 1963 of the marine tanker Sulphur Queen with a crew of 39,
- the disappearance of the Japanese freighter Raifuku Maru.
11There are several hypotheses for the mysterious disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle area.
One is the occasional methane eruption from underwater methane clathrate deposits in these areas. In waters 300 to 2000 meters deep, methane clathrate (methane hydrate) can form at specific temperatures. Changes in pressure and temperature allow methane to escape from the hydrate pieces. If the changes occur suddenly, large amounts of methane can form in a concise time, and an eruption occurs. An eruption can be triggered by a sea quake (an earthquake in coastal regions) or tectonic shifts.
12The methane gas floats on the water's surface as many tiny bubbles. The density of the resulting gas-water mixture is much less than that of seawater. If a ship finds itself in such an area, due to the lower density, it quickly sinks below the actual sea surface, and the crew is unable even to make an emergency call. The ship sinks.
In the case of Flight 19, several witnesses confirmed that they saw an explosion in the sky. However, the methane concentration in the air would have to be 5% (the lower explosive limit) for a blast to occur under the influence of the engines. But even lower concentrations of methane in the air can disrupt aircraft engines - the methane in the air causes enrichment of the fuel-air mixture and subsequent unstable operation or failure of the engines.
13Methane mixed with air layers below an airplane causes changes in density and, consequently, vertical movements of air masses.
This results in turbulence, during which the pilot can perform a maneuver leading to a loss of control and a sudden drop in the aircraft's altitude. However, there is no evidence that methane can cause aircraft flight disturbances.
14Magnetic anomalies are also mentioned in connection with the Bermuda Triangle.
It is said that they can cause compass disruptions, which would happen on both ships and airplanes. It is claimed that official aeronautical charts in force today warn of sudden magnetic field disturbances in the area. However, the U.S. Navy's Project Magnet conducted magnetic field research for 20 years and disproved this assumption.
15Bay currents, violent weather, giant waves, and human error (difficult navigation in the open sea) were also considered to explain the phenomena in the Bermuda Triangle.
Human error was one of the most frequently cited explanations in official investigations.
16People who accept the Bermuda Triangle as a natural phenomenon look to the paranormal for its explanation.
One theory is related to a mythical land called Atlantis. The technology that was used on this continent is supposed to cause the ocean to "sink" and ships to sink.
Another theory is the action of extraterrestrial forces - UFOs. Visitors from other planets abduct Earth ships with their crews.
17The last reports of alleged Bermuda Triangle activity date back to the early 1970s.
New technologies have emerged; new, better and more advanced navigation instruments, and pilots and ship captains are much better trained and less likely to make the mistakes that are by far the most likely scenario for tragic events at sea.