List of Incidents in Bermuda Triangle
Following is a list of some of the most talked about incidents that took place in Bermuda Triangle.
1492 - Voyage of Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus while on his voyage with three sailing ships and 90 men across the Atlantic in search of the New World, reported in his ship's log book about a large fire flame falling into the sea, unusual compass readings and strange lights.
The fire flame was likely a meteor, the compass variation was due to a then incorrect notion that compass pointed to the geographic north (it actually always points to the Magnetic North which is miles away), and the strange lights could just be an illusion in the fatigued eyes.
1609 - The Sea Venture
The sailing ship The Sea Venture got wrecked near the eastern end of Bermuda, one corner of Bermuda Triangle. The commander of the fleet Sir George Somers and his crew could somehow manage to come ashore and were the first to start human settlement in the island of Bermuda.
1812 - Patriot
Theodosia Burr Alston was the daughter of the former United States Vice President Aaron Burr. Her disappearance has been cited at least once in relation to the Triangle. She boarded the schooner Patriot, which started its sail from Charleston, South Carolina to New York City on December 31, 1812. Her husband who was sworn in as the Governor of South Carolina only a few days back, could not accompany her, and instead sent his old-time friend Timothy Green to accompany Alston.
However, Patriot and none on board could be heard from again. Patriot was earlier used as a privateer during the war to raid the British ships. It is anticipated that the ship was overloaded with the hidden proceeds & guns seized during such raids when the captain of the Patriot wanted to rapidly get across to New York, and that resulted in sinking of the ship.
1815 - USS Epervier
The USS Epervier (an 18-gun cruiser class brig sloop) along with 132 seamen and 2 marines disappeared while carrying a copy of the peace treaty to the United States to end the war between America and the North African Barbary States. She was last reported sailing through the Straights of Gibraltar on July 14, 1815. But after than she was not heard from again. There was a hurricane reported in the Atlantic on August 9, 1815 and Epervier would have likely encountered that.
1872 - Mary Celeste
Known as a ghost ship (i.e. an abandoned ship) of Bermuda Triangle, the 103ft brigantine Mary Celeste had many misadventures before her mystery voyage in 1872. She had left port of New York on November 7 with a load of cargo and was to sail to Genoa. On December 4, 1872 she was found by another ship De Gratia completely abandoned but still sailing erratically near the Azores.
While no explanation has proved to death the real cause of abandonment, there are many theories that have come including mutiny, violent storm, piracy, sabotage by the crew and more...
1881 - Ellen Austin
The Ellen Austin on its voyage in 1881 came across another ship that was sailing without a soul on board. Ellen Austin transferred its salvage crew onto the unknown ship and attempted to sail with it to New York. The unknown ship got separated in a squall and disappeared. Later it re-appeared, but again without a person on board. It is said that the unknown ship again disappeared forever.
Read the full story of The Ellen Austin
to know what might have actually happened.
1909 - S.V. Spray
S.V. Spray was a derelict fishing boat refitted and rebuilt as a 37-ft yawl by Joshua Slocum and used by him to complete the first ever single-handed circumnavigation of the world in three years between 1895 and 1898. Spray was built in such a way that it was not only super sturdy and balanced, but it also had the remarkable self-steering ability, could take up almost any wind conditions and still be on course for hours or even days with her helm lashed.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
On November 14, 1909, Slocum set sail again for a much shorter run through the Bermuda Triangle from Vineyard Haven bound for Venezuela. Neither he nor the boat SV Spray were ever seen again. Several explanations were suggested for the loss including a massive gale that might had eventually sunk the boat, or a large steamer would have crushed the boat unknowingly, or Slocum would have himself disappeared with the boat to avoid an unhappy family life and live elsewhere etc. Slocum wasn't officially declared dead until 1924.
1918 - USS Cyclops
This 542-ft navy ship's disappearance resulted in the single largest loss of life in the history of the US Navy. It went missing with a crew of 309 and large cargo of manganese ore, sometime after March 4th 1918 and after departing the island of Barbados for Baltimore. It was not heard from again, neither any debris was found.
USS Cyclops anchored on Hudson River in 1911
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Several explanations were given even by Navy and other seamen including the Cyclops capsized, or tornedoed by German submarines, or might had been surrendered to the Germans, alternatively there might had been a case of sabotage. But none could be proven with evidence.
1921 - Carroll A. Deering
This was a 5-masted commercial schooner built to carry cargo. On January 31, 1921 while returning home to Maine from Rio de Janeiro of Brazil, it was found wrecked at Diamond Shoals located off Cape Hatteras in North Carolina. While the ship was quite intact, all crew members vanished and the ship was found completely abandoned.
Although Deering is one of the most talked about maritime mysteries in Bermuda Triangle and no official explanation has been given for its abandonment, it is quite possible that Deering was a victim of mutiny or even piracy, or just a simple case of abandonment by the crew when they saw the ship ran aground and took to the small open lifeboats only to be swept away into the sea and drowned.
1941 - Proteus and Nereus
The story of Carroll A Deering continued to stay alive as her two collier sister ships USS Proteus and the USS Nereus too disappeared without a trace in late 1941 while travelling along nearly the same route as Deering. Both ships started from St. Thomas of Virgin islands within a gap of few weeks and were bound for Norfolk.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Proteas left on November 23, 1941 with 58 persons on board and was reported lost in the high seas within a few days. Subsequent German report suggested that it was probably a war casualty. Nereus left St. Thomas on December 10 and disappeared with all its 61 men and cargo. The navy assumed that the ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat.
USS Nereus loading coal at Nagasaki (Japan) in 1916
Source: Wikimedia Commons
1945 - Flight 19
The five training aircraft of TBM Avenger bombers of US Navy with an experienced captain and 13 trainee pilots went missing on Dec 5, 1945 on a routine training mission after they took off from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They were scheduled to go due east from Florida Naval base for 123 nautical miles, then north for 73 nautical miles, and then get back over a final 120 nautical mile route that would return them to the naval base. But strangely they never came back.
Grumman TBM Avengers similar to Flight 19
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Although no official explanation was available to the real cause of the incident, most likely the planes were lost (as was evident from the radio transcripts) and eventually ran out of fuel and had to ditch into the sea when it was dark and the sea was foaming.
1945 - PBM Martin Mariner
Two rescue seaplanes Martin Mariners with 13 crew were sent to search for the missing planes of Flight-19. But of them did not return. Although this added to the mystery and fueled many speculations, it was known that the Martin Mariners were prone to explosion due to gas leakage from their tanks. A tanker off the coast of Florida in fact noticed a large explosion on sea.
1947 - The C-54
The aircraft with 6 crew including the experienced pilot, crashed into the sea 294 miles off Florida killing all its crewmen. The Accident Investigating Board at Morrison Field sighted the main reason as violent turbulence causing the crash but also did not rule out the possibility of navigational errors.
1948 - Tudor Star Tiger
A Tudor Mark IV aircraft disappeared in Bermuda Triangle shortly before it was to land in Bermuda airport enroute from Santa Maria in the Azores in January 1948. The investigating board could not assign any specific cause to this disappearance. Low fuel and engine failure were unlikely reasons... the aircraft should have had enough fuel to fly for one more hour even on reaching Bermuda and the plane had redundancy of multiple engines.
Avro Tudor Mark IVB (similar to Star Tiger)
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Could it be that the aircraft was flying at such an unusual low altitude (of only 2,000ft instead of the usual flying altitude of 20,000ft) in order to avoid the strong headwind, that the pilot and the crew actually forgot their actual altitude at the time of descent and perhaps flew the plane into the sea?
1948 - Fight DC-3 Disappearance
The flight Douglas DC-3 NC16002 disappeared in Bermuda Triangle when it was only 50 miles south of Florida and about to land in Miami on December 28, 1948. It was coming in from San Juan (Puerto Rico) along with 3 crew and 36 passengers. All were lost in the sea along with the plane and no debris could be recovered.
While the real cause is still unknown due to lack of information, one explanation suggested that the change in wind direction of have pushed the aircraft off course resulting in the plane to get lost and eventually the plane crashed into the sea when the gulf stream would have swept the debris away.
1954 - Flight 441 Disappearance
The flight 441, a Super Constellation Naval Airliner, disappeared during its Trans-Atlantic flight on October 30, 1954 to Azores while carrying 42 persons on board. It was carrying two powerful radio transmitters but did not send out an SOS.
An R7V-1 (Similar to Flight 441)
Weather was nothing unusual although there was intermittent thunderstorm and mild turbulence which the aircraft could have easily avoided by raising its flying altitude. However no trace of the aircraft could be found and the Director of Navy's Aviation Section admitted that there was no official explanation to account for the loss.
1963 - Marine Sulphur Queen
This 524-foot carrier of molten sulfur started sail Feb 2, 1963 from Beaumont, Texas with 39 crew and a cargo of 15,260 tons of sulfur. It was reported lost in Florida Straits on Feb 4. It was caught into rough sea with high waves and strong winds. Several causes were cited for its sinking and all were related to its poor maintenance and design. The Coast Guard too reported that the ship was in a poor physical condition and wasn't seaworthy.
1967 - Witchcraft
A 23-foot cabin cruiser went missing in Bermuda Triangle area on the night of December 22, 1967 while it was only a mile out to the sea and off Miami beach. The owner took it offshore only to watch the Christmas lights of Miami shoreline. When the Coast Guard received a call that the boat would have hit a submerged object and the engine was vibrating, they reached in 19 minutes but found nothing... no wreckage, no men and no life jackets. Although the Coast Guards gave up the vast search after a few days, it is known that the weather was rather rough for several days when the Witchcraft was on sea and the sea too was foaming.
1968 - USS Scorpion
USS Scorpion (SSN-589) was a Nuclear powered submarine of United States Navy that disappeared in Bermuda Triangle in May 1968. Although the real cause is not known to date, the possibilities of the Scorpion was torpedoed by another Soviet submarine, and internal torpedo getting activated that exploded the Scorpion or a waterline failure in the engine room are some of the explanations that have been debated as the cause.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
1973 - Navion A16
On May 25, 1973 Robert (Bob) Corner and his friend Reno Regon started from Miami for a trip to Freeport, Bahamas. Bob was flying his own aircraft Navion A16 which was maintained very well. Bob himself was a great pilot with over 5,000 hours of flying experience. The plane's tank was full and the flying distance to Freeport was only 110 miles, so shortage of fuel was never a problem. Midway through the flight Bob contacted the control tower at Miami to check the weather ahead.
The control tower reported that there was a severe storm ahead and advised him to take a detour to avoid the stormy belt. He followed the instruction, so did another plane which was only 10 minutes behind him. However, that was the last time Bob could be contacted. The plane behind him was advised by the control tower to retrace its flight path and try to locate the Navion A16. US Coast Guards too swung into action soon... but trace could be found for Navion A16.
1976 - The Sylvia L. Ossa
A sister ship of Marine Sulphur Queen, a 590-foot weighing 15,028-gross-ton ore carrier with a crew of 37 disappeared 140 miles due west of Bermuda on October 15, 1976 when it was bound from Brazil to Philadelphia. Only some debris, oil sleek and a lifeboat could be recovered.
According to The New York Times (October 18, 1976), the spokesperson from the Coast Guard said "It's not easy to miss a 590-foot-long ship on a day with visibility of more than 40 miles and calm seas, so it doesn't seem too hopeful that it's still afloat".
The search operation began after the normal procedure of 24-hour waiting period during which time a ship would send out a distress signal or appear in a nearby port. The ship did not send out any emergency distress message. However during the search operation, Coast Guard reported that the waves were 6-12ft high and there were strong gusts of 30knots.
1980 - SS Poet
SS Poet, a 522-ft bulk cargo carrier left from a port in Philadelphia for Egypt on October 24, 1980. The next routine radio transmission reporting its position was expected 2 days after it left the port, but no signal was received. It was lost in the sea.
Source: Historic Gloria Dei Preservation Corporation
While the exact cause of disappearance is still unknown, the investigations point at a violent storm passing its way with strong gusts of wind and waves up to 30ft high which could cause the ship to sink. However, other ships in the same area reported that it wasn't a fatal storm which the Poet couldn't have avoided. In fact, Poet didn't send out any emergency signal either.
1991 - Grumman Cougar
On October 31st, the pilots (John Verde and Paul Lucaris) of a Grumman Cougar jet made a routine radio request to increase altitude. While ascending, the aircraft gradually faded from the radar and vanished. Although this case is sometimes cited as an incident of Bermuda Triangle, the incident actually took place over Gulf of Mexico along the coast of Louisiana.
2003 - Fishing Boat
A newly married couple Frank and Romina Leone went for fishing on their brand new 16-foot boat on June 18, 2003. They left from the Boynton beach inlet in Florida but never returned. The weather was fair with 10 to 15-knot winds and 2 to 4-foot waves. The US Coast Guard combed 35,700 square miles of the sea from Miami to Savannah, but eventually gave up the search & rescue operation after having searched for several days.
2005 & 2007
On two separate incidents, two Piper-PA planes disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle area. One on June 20, 2005 between Treasure Cay island of Bahamas and Fort Pierce of Florida. There were three persons on board. The second incident took place on April 10, 2007 near Berry Island. The plane flew into a category-6 thunderstorm and lost altitude. Only the pilot was on board and no passengers.
2008 - Britten Norman Islander
A Britten-Norman Islander (also known as 3-engine Trislander) took off from Santiago for New York on December 15, 2008 at around 3:30pm with 12 persons on board. After about 35 minutes from take off, the aircraft fell off the radar. A massive search operation was launched by US Coast Guards, but the aircraft was never traced again. Its last known location was about 4 miles west of West Caicos Island. No debris could be found.
2015 - SS El Faro
On October 1, 2015, the cargo ship SS El Faro became another tragic victim of Bermuda Triangle, the worst in over 30 years. The 790-ft container ship departed Jacksonville (Florida) bound for Peurto Rico with 33 crew members on board, carrying large number of containers, trailers and vehicles. A tropical storm hundreds of miles away, developed into fierce hurricane, dashed down towards El Faro, and started circling around the ship.
SS El Faro
Source: TOTE Maritime (owner of El Faro)
Soon all communications from the ship went silent. And quite unbelievably and having created havoc on the sea, the hurricane went back out almost the same way it came from. After extensive search for weeks, the ship could be finally located sitting upright in one piece at a depth of about 15,000ft in the Atlantic, but there was no trace of any crew members.
2017 - Mitsubishi MU-2B-40
The small private aircraft Mitsubishi MU-2B-40 with twin engine disappeared in Bermuda triangle on May 15, 2017 while flying from Puerto Rico (a corner of the triangle) to south Florida. Air traffic control at Miami lost radar contact with the aircraft at 2:10pm and the plane simply vanished with four passengers on board apparently when there was no weather warnings. However, after an extensive search over a vast sea area around the Bahamas, the Coast Guard had located a small floating debris that they believed had matched with that of the lost MU-2B.
Raj is an avid traveler, a travel journalist and a blogger. As an author of this website, he shares deep insights on Bermuda and related areas of interest. Since years, he has been helping countless viewers by posting quality articles, answering questions and sharing experiences on this website. Launched in 2008, this website is Bermuda's one of the leading sources of information since many years.
Jacqueline Huesing (May 2017)
I have 2 cousins missing from the 1960's. My cousin was newly married. She, Dolores Geoffrey was a dancer in New York City. They were in their privately owned airplane. They supposedly flew from New York to Massachusetts. They never arrived, and the plane was never found. Many wondered if it was lost in Long Island Sound or Bermuda Triangle.
Our family friend Richard Davies was an active duty navy sailor in the 1960's. He was vacationing in the Long Island sound. He was setting up his boat for fishing. He called out, and his wife a short distance away went to the boat area. He & the boat were gone. To my knowledge the boat and person were never found. Richard & his wife were expecting a baby.
Alberto Montenegro (May 2015)
I only recently discovered that there are websites that list disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle and I was curious to see if my own family's incident made your list. It did not. My grandfather was a Cuban fisherman, and his fishing vessel Joven Lydia, named after his eldest daughter, disappeared in 1966 off the coast of Florida (from the port of Miami).
His son Ramon, and 4 of his friends went for a fishing trip only to never return. My grandfather spent all of his savings on search efforts, but nothing ever turned up. After losing his main means of income (his fishing boat) he eventually gave up hope for his son and moved to Los Angeles, finding employment at a factory with the help of his brother-in-law.
I'm actually on my way to the funeral for my great uncle (my grandfather's aforementioned brother-in-law who found him employment in Los Angeles). If it weren't for the disappearance of my grandfather's fishing boat, which we have always felt was claimed by the Bermuda Triangle, my mother's family would not have moved to Los Angeles where she met my father.
J Mohamed Salman Javid
I must appreciate your sincere and honest dedication with painstaking efforts for making these mysteries come alive. It has greatly helped me in 'pragmatic usage of English' classes where I had to give my class a presentation about Bermuda Triangle. I am now very much interested in your posts about these mysteries that I request you to post more mysteries of these kinds. Also I want to know about recent accidents and incidents happening in the Bermuda Triangle which will surely kindle my interest towards your posts. Thank You.