Source:The Daily Mail (London, England) (May 25, 2001): p78. (770 words)
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Full Text :COPYRIGHT 2001 Solo Syndication Limited
QUESTION In these days of global navigation systems, do ships and planes still disappear in the Bermuda Triangle?
THE Bermuda Triangle, sometimes called the Devil's Triangle, is an indistinct area whose boundaries are not universally agreed upon, but which has a vaguely triangular shape marked by the southern U.S. Coast, Bermuda and the Greater Antilles.
It comprises an area of about 500 square leagues, 1,500,000 square miles, of sea. Reports of unexplained occurrences - of shipping and aircraft which have disappeared or gone down for no apparent reason date back to the mid-19th century.
No ships have gone down in the triangle since the Seventies but aircraft, though not necessarily disappearing (the last to vanish without trace was 1986), are still crashing with mysterious regularity.
In the Nineties, 13 planes were lost or destroyed, with 29 people killed; in the Eighties, 26 planes, 84 killed; in the Seventies, 44 planes, 102 killed; in the Sixties, 32 planes, 106 killed; and in the Fifties, two planes, 52 killed.
The most recent crash was on January 5, 2000, when a Cessna 172 crashed four miles east of St Augustine Airport, Florida.
The National Transportation Safety Board determined the probable cause as the pilot's 'lack of experience in instrument flight, simulated instrument flight and night flight, resulting in the pilot becoming spatially disoriented, and subsequent in-flight collision with water. Contributing to the accident was the dark night with no visible horizon'.
The mysterious factor was that the night was clear and the airport well lit, but even then the pilot's last radio message was: 'I don't see anything.' There have also been a number of strange occurrences. On June 28, 1980, an Ercoupe 415D flying from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic to San Juan in Puerto Rico went down with the loss of two persons. It reported a UFO just before disappearing.
A number of theories, most fanciful, have been put forward to explain the curse of the Triangle. These include fluctuations in the magnetic field, UFOs, men from Atlantis, freak weather and human error.