Early in the morning, a group of torpedo bombers took off from Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale in Florida. Five TBM Avengers undertook a combat training exercise patrolling US waters. They never landed again: none of the five planes and 14 crew members made it back to the base. A Mariner flying boat subsequently launched to search for them vanished as well. The disappearance looked mysterious. The crew’s last words, captured by radio operators, didn’t clarify much: “We don't know where we are.”
This tragic event attracted universal attention and forced people to take a closer look at the Atlantic triangle formed by the Floridian Peninsula, the island of Puerto Rico, and Bermuda. It turned out that accidents happen there a little more often than elsewhere on the planet. All hell broke loose: journalists began making up conspiracies about the curvature of space and time, thin air traps, a beacon from an unidentified planet placed on the ocean floor. In 1964, a journalist called Vincent H. Gaddis coined the phrase “Bermuda Triangle.” 10 years later, Charles Berlitz released his eponymous bestselling book, in which he collected all the known cases of ships and planes that went missing in this region. In people’s minds, the Bermuda Triangle became strongly linked to unexplained tragedies.
It turned out a bit later that no mystery exists. Larry Kusche, a research librarian from Arizona, investigated the authentic documents of the old tragedy and concluded that everything is false. The weather was bad, a storm erupted, and the pilots’ messages as quoted by journalists don’t match the official transcript. Everything pointed to a pilot error and instrument malfunction: the group was blown off-course and ran out of fuel. Other cases also had logical explanations: hurricanes, magnetic storms, pirates. As for the number of accidents, in the Gulf of Finland they are also more common than in Moskva River: simply because the navigation is busier. No need for supernatural explanations when there are scientific ones.