Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Bermuda Triangle, Flight 19 and Josh Gates

In a strange coincidence, I stumbled across the second part of Josh Gates’ episode dealing with the Bermuda Triangle. I was able to learn the results of the experiment he had conducted with a couple of scientists. They launched a balloon into the upper atmosphere to find out if there were any anomalies to explain the trouble with compasses and other electronics. Yes, they found a spike in the
Josh Gates and me... published here to show that
I'm not really bald.
electromagnetic radiation that they couldn’t explain. Interesting, but not too illuminating.

He also was involved in an experiment created to explain the disappearance of the USS Cyclops, a strange looking Navy ship designed to carry coal to the fleet. That mission explains the weird metallic superstructure. Using a university’s facilities that had been designed to recreate ocean conditions, they created what is now known as a rogue wave to attempt to sink the ship. I expected it to do so, but not with the rapidity that it did. The wave hit the exact model of the ship and took it down in seconds… no time for a radio call, no time to for the sailors to abandon the ship and no time for any sort of rescue. One minute the ship was on the surface and the next it was under water. I might add that there are some portions of the Bermuda Triangle that are the deepest in the North Atlantic. If a ship or a plane sank there, no one is ever going to find any sign of it.

I was more interested in Josh’s take on Flight 19, a five-plane formation of Avenger torpedo planes that disappeared in 1945. This is the cornerstone of the Bermuda Triangle mystery. It seems inexplicable and I wondered just what Josh would do about it. He gave a good account of the preliminaries meaning that weather at the time of take- off wasn’t great, the make-up of the flight, and its training mission. Everything was fine as they approached the target, Hens and Chicken Shoals, some 70 or so nautical miles from their base.

Once beyond that, they seemed to have drifted off course. The Flight made a scheduled turn, but the Flight Leader, Charles Taylor, said that both his compasses had malfunctioned. From that point, it seems they made several turns, first flying one direction and then another until they ran out of gas. Radio contact had been lost prior to that and when it was obvious that the Flight was down, a Martin Mariner with a crew of 13 was launched to attempt a rescue. That aircraft slipped off the radar and disappeared as well.

But, unlike the Avengers, there were witnesses to this part of the disaster. The crew of a ship in the area saw an aerial explosion. When they reached the scene of the crash, they spotted floating debris but the bad weather forced them to abandon the search. They next day, no one could find the wreckage… but the ship’s crew did get a good fix on the location.

All this is important because Josh, with another crew using high tech sonar, were able to see the ocean bottom in what looked like high definition detail. Scanning the area, they found debris on the ocean floor that looked suspiciously like the remains of an aircraft. Diving down, Josh found what looked like the type of engine that the Martin Mariner had used, and a propeller blade, or rather the engine hub with all three blades on it. Given all that, it is almost certain that they had found the remains of Martin Mariner. Although Josh and crew were unable to recover the engine or the propeller, it was suggested that it should be recovered at some point.

Given that, and what he learned about Flight 19, Josh suggested that a
combination of events doomed the Flight. It was a cascade of circumstances that brought down the planes and had there been any variation in those events, even a slight one, the tragedy might have been avoided. The conclusion is that it wasn’t some mysterious force that brought down the Flight, it wasn’t aliens and it wasn’t some sort of interdimensional warp… it was bad weather, faulty navigation and a series of other events that combined to doom the Flight.

Again, I was surprised by the rationale brought to this. Josh suggested at the end that there might be some weird weather and magnetic anomalies in the Bermuda Triangle but there was nothing supernatural. That was a conclusion that I had reached many years ago after reading Lawrence Kusche’s book.

Of course, having met Josh (yes, I have to bring that up again), I’m not surprised that he came to the conclusions he did, based on the evidence and the experiments in which he was involved. For those who wish to learn the truth about this, Expedition Unknown has done a good job of relating the facts without delving into the wild speculation that obscures the reality of the situation. I believe that we can say “solved” to the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle. It is delightful to see an intelligent documentary about the Bermuda Triangle when there is so much nonsense out there.

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