Thursday, January 30, 2020

SS Cotopaxi - No Longer a Victim of the Bermuda Triangle

On December 1, 1925, the crew of SS Cotopaxi radioed that the ship was taking on water and listing during a storm. On December 31, the ship was officially listed as overdue. With that, it entered the legend of the Bermuda Triangle as one of those mysterious disappearances that so many find fascinating. Charles Berlitz in his
SS Cotopaxi?
book The Bermuda Triangle lists the SS Cotopaxi as one of the major ships that disappeared. Although there are sources that suggest 32 passengers, the description of the ship suggests that those 32 people were sailors and not really passengers.

I will note here that many of the disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle were not all that mysterious. In many cases, such as this one, the weather was bad and was, at least, a contributing factor. This is not to mention that many of the “facts” reported about these disappearances were not actual facts but speculations by the writers who believed that something strange was happening.

But those of us interested in facts, try to check beyond the original story which means not giving up once we have the preliminary information. On my radio program, A Different Perspective, I did mention the Cotopaxi had been found. CBS news was one of the sources that I used in that preliminary work. You can see that story here:

and this is from the Science Channel (and yes, it’s a tad bit long):

and another source found here:

It seems, however, that a number of years ago, there was a story circulating that suggested the Cotopaxi, floating and abandoned, had been found by the Cuba Coast Guard. The story circulated widely on the Internet. This turned out to be a hoax. But this latest tale is different if for no other reasons than the ship was found underwater and divers, working with the Science Channel were among those who found it.

To add a bit of perspective to all this, I’ll mention again, I was an Air Force intelligence officer and I served, for a number of years with the 928th Tactical Airlift Group, which was subordinate to the 440th Tactical Airlift Wing. Those you follow the Bermuda Triangle nonsense, know that the 440th lost a C-119 in the Bermuda Triangle in June 1965. Contrary to reports in many of those earlier sources such as the Berlitz book, wreckage was found during the search for the missing plane and crew.

Once, while at 440th Wing Headquarters, I asked a couple of the officers about the loss. They told me they’d found wreckage and wanted to know if I wanted to see it… in those pre-cell phone days, we all didn’t have cameras in our pockets so, no, I don’t have any pictures. I did see some of the wreckage and reported on this case here:

According to some researchers, there are many victims claimed by the Deadly Triangle… but some of those others have been found. The Freya, a German Bark was discovered drifting and abandoned in the Bermuda Triangle… Except, of course, it was actually found in the Pacific Ocean, which means it wasn’t lost in the Triangle.

But I digress for the moment…

I believe, given the latest and best evidence, that the SS Cotopaxi has been found under water. The Science Channel will supply the evidence in a couple of days. At that point we’ll all have the information and can judge if this is another hoax, a mistake, or if the ship can be removed from the list of the disappearances in the Triangle as some of those others have been.

I will note, as mentioned in one of the latest articles, that the geographical coordinates put it north of the original Triangle, which means it hadn’t belonged there in the first place.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Kevin, I read this a few weeks ago and am just coming back to it. Interesting story with more that are tangential. You mentioned the Freya and I looked for more information on that, kind of what you refer to as chasing footnotes. It is very cool that Nature, which was the source of the story, has all of their back issues online. I looked for more information on the Freya. There are two german ships that fit the timeframe, but only one is a masted sailing ship While Wikipedia isn't the bible, the two books they reference saying that it was broken up in GE sometime around 1896 seem pretty authoritative. Interesting how these stories take on a life of their own.