This article is written in response to a question posted asking what is the mystery behind the Bermuda Triangle. The area of the North Atlantic Ocean known by this name lies in international waters in a nautical area between the islands of Bermuda and Puerto Rico and the North American coastline close to Florida. It has over the years been the location of mysterious disappearances involving both surface vessels and aircraft.
The mysterious or unexplained disappearances of these craft have led to supposition of involvement of forces of the paranormal or even by extraterrestrials. While several theories may exist documented evidence that these mysterious disappearances are nothing more than inaccurate reports or positioning as a result of human error and that these instances are no different to any other large area of deep ocean water.
The Bermuda Triangle has also been given the unwarranted tag of the Devils Triangle because of its reputation for being a graveyard for ships and aircraft that occasionally enter into the area. The recorded instances of missing aircraft within this area all occurred in a single decade when aircraft safety and reliability was not as it is within the modern world.
The most famous incident involved five Avengers disappearing on the 5th of December 1945 with the loss of their crew of 14 airmen. Later that same day a Mariner aircraft while searching for those missing aircraft also failed to return and it or its crew of 13 were never seen again.
In 1948, on the 30th of January a flight from the Azores to Bermuda was never seen again and an unknown end to its 31 passengers and crew. In the same year, an aircraft flying from Puerto Rico to Miami disappeared on the 28th of December with a total of 39 people on board. The final mystery of a midflight disappearance was on the 17th of January 1949 when 20 passengers and crew failed to arrive in Jamaica after leaving from Bermuda.
The first recorded mysterious incident of a surface vessel was the USS Cyclops in 1918; it never arrived in Baltimore, Maryland after departing from Barbados on the 4th of March with 309 passengers and crew on board. Three years later a five masted schooner ran aground off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina having been abandoned or its crew all washed overboard. The SS Cotopaxi radioed in a distress call two days into a voyage from South Carolina to Cuba on the 1st of December 1925 stating it was sinking. No trace of the vessel has ever been found.
In November 1941, the USS Proteus while carrying a cargo of bauxite was lost at sea during heavy storms having sailed from the Virgin Islands with 58 on board. Just one month later the sister ship to the Proteus, USS Nereus, while also carrying the same cargo on the same route disappeared with 61 on board. An enquiry later revealed that the acidic nature of the cargo led to corrosion of the support beams in the aging and poorly constructed vessels making them extremely vulnerable to breaking up while encountering heavy seas.
The SS Marine Sulphur Queen was lost at sea in 1963 with its crew of 39 having sailed from Beaumont, Texas in February of that year carrying a cargo of sulphur. Four days after her departure she was listed as missing after the last reports were of heavy seas and strong northerly winds. The Coast Guard report later stated the vessel was not seaworthy, was unsafe and should never have left the safety of the port.
The only recorded incident of a mysterious disappearance on land came in 1969 when the two lighthouse keepers of the Great Isaac Lighthouse in Bimini, the Bahamas and both keepers disappeared never to be seen again.
While many theorists may claim that the area has a supernatural element this theory is usually only supported by poor reporting of facts or over exaggeration to attempt to lay claim to these theories. Lloyds of London, one of the world’s leading insurers of international shipping and the US Coastguard both state that the area is no more dangerous than any other in the world and with it being a heavily used area in both shipping and aircraft use than if disappearances were higher in the region then they would surely have continued to occur in more recent times.
The Gulf Stream is a powerful current that flows from the Gulf of Mexico, across the North Atlantic to northern Europe close to the British Isles. It moves at a speed of around 2.5 metres per second and any debris from an incident at sea can quickly be carried away from the initial area.
Human error is often easily overlooked as to a cause of shipping or aircraft becoming lost or out of position due to a missed compass reading.
The area is susceptible to extreme violent weather. Hurricanes are not uncommon in the area and in the years before offshore weather reports these may have contributed to the unknown factor in why vessels mysteriously vanished. Sudden changes to the weather temperature such as a downdraft of cold air can alter wind speeds dramatically from calm to storm force creating squalls of wind and water of explosive proportions.