1940s |

Aircraft Squad Missing In The Bermuda Triangle – 12/4/1945

The Bermuda Triangle has been an area of intrigue and mystery for centuries. Whether it is a boat or airplane that ventures into this location, most of the time that whatever enters into it never leaves or is never the same again. One of the many strange occurrences that happened in the Bermuda Triangle happened around the time of World War II. Five United States Navy Avenger torpedo-bombers known as Flight 19 departed from Ft. Lauderdale Naval Air Station in Florida on December 5th, 1945 on a routine training mission that was to last for three hours. The plan filed for Flight 19 was to travel 120 miles due east, then head 73 miles north and then return back during a 120-mile leg that would have them land at the naval base; Flight 19 never returned.

The leader of the squadron within two hours into the mission suddenly contacted the base saying that his whereabouts was unknown due to both his regular compass and reserve compass was no longer functioning; the leader had previously flown in the area for over six months. Curiously, the rest of the squadron was suffering the same malfunctions with their instruments. 

Meanwhile on land, radio facilities were asked to try and pinpoint the position of the missing squadron but were unable to. Confusing transmissions from the fliers continued for another two hours until a garbled radio message from the leader of the squadron was received at 6:20 p.m. The transmission seemed to suggest that because of lack of fuel, the leader ordered everyone to abandon their aircrafts.

While the squadron’s leader last communication was being heard, several radar stations on land finally decided that Flight 19 was located between east of the Florida coast and north of the Bahamas. A search and rescue Mariner aircraft left the base with a crew of 13 men at 7:27 p.m. The home base was radioed three minutes later from the Mariner aircraft that the mission had started; the Mariner aircraft disappeared and was never heard from again. A report from a tanker would eventually report that while traveling off the coast of Florida, an explosion was seen at 7:50 p.m.

The 13 men of the Mariner aircraft and the 14 men of Flight 19 disappearance led to one of the biggest sea and air searches to that time period. Hundreds of aircraft and ships searched thousands of square miles of distant areas within Florida’s interior as well as the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean; they found no trace of the aircrafts or of bodies.

While officials from the navy insisted that the remains of the 27 men and 6 aircrafts were lost due to any evidence being swept away from stormy weather, the tale of the “Lost Squadron” only established firmly the Bermuda Triangle Legend; a section of the Atlantic Ocean where aircraft and ships supposedly disappear without a trace. The Bermuda Triangle’s supposed location is from the southern U.S. coast through Bermuda and down to the Atlantic coast of Santo Domingo and Cuba.

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Mark Hinderberg

Writer

Retired History Professor at Vanderbilt University. Love taking a portal through time and sharing my knowledge with anyone else who loves reading about history. It is my passion and my greatest hobby.