Shelby Lin Erdman, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
A U.S. Navy squadron of five Avenger torpedo-bombers, known as Flight 19, took off on a routine, three-hour training mission, leaving the Ft. Lauderdale Naval Air Station on Dec. 5, 1945, just after 2 p.m. and never returned. To this day, 72 years later, the disappearance is an enduring mystery and helped fuel the enigma surrounding the Bermuda Triangle, also known as the Devil’s Triangle.
Two hours into the flight, the squadron leader, Lt. Charles Taylor, radioed that his flight instruments, including his compass, had failed and that he didn’t know where he was, according to History.com. The other 13 members of the squadron also reported instrument failure.
“After two more hours of confused messages from the flyers, a distorted radio transmission from the squadron leader was heard at 6:20 p.m., apparently calling for his men to prepare to ditch their aircraft simultaneously because of lack of fuel,” History.com said.
A Mariner aircraft with a 13-man crew took off on a search and rescue mission just before 7:30 p.m., looking for the lost patrol. After a radio message three minutes into the flight, that aircraft was never heard from again, although a tanker reported an explosion off the Florida coast just before 8 p.m.
A book released in 2012, “Discovery of Flight 19: A 30-Year Search for the Lost Patrol in the Bermuda Triangle,” blamed bad luck, bad weather and some fatal mistakes, according to the Huffington Post.
Since the disappearance of the 27 men and their aircraft, the triangle in the Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda, Puerto Rico and Miami has fueled rampant speculation on what kind of mysterious forces could be operating in the area.
It’s suspected that hundreds of vessels have gone down in the triangular patch of ocean, but the legend really took off in 1964, according to National Geographic, when an unusually high number of ships disappeared.
No wreckage or evidence of the lost patrol was ever found.