The Bermuda Triangle - Facts and Myths
Even though you won’t find it on a map, the Bermuda Triangle is a very real place. In the past there have been many stories of disappearing ships, planes and people. Although there is a reasonable explanation for many incidents, some are still a mystery.
The Bermuda Triangle is located off the coast of Florida between Miami, Puerto Rico and the Bermudas. It covers about 500 000 square miles of the Atlantic Ocean. It is also known as the Devil’s Triangle because Bermuda was once called Islands of the Devils. The coasts around the island are surrounded by dangerous reefs that ships ran into throughout the centuries.
Unusual events around the Bermuda Triangle go back to the voyages of Christopher Columbus. He sometimes reported that compass readings were wrong. Many journalists have tried to prove that a number accidents and unusual things have happened in the region. Some cases show that there are no explanations for them.
One of the best-known incidents is the disappearance of Flight 19 during a training exercise of the US Navy. In December, 1945 five American bombers left Fort Lauderdale, Florida on a routine mission. 14 crew members disappeared after sending several radio messages. When a rescue plane went to search for the Navy bombers it also vanished.
What went wrong during the mission is not fully known. Compasses showed wrong directions and visibility was bad so the flight leader decided to navigate by landmarks which he saw below. Then there was a sudden storm and radio contact broke off. Wrecked parts of Flight 19 have never been recovered.
Location of the Bermuda Triangle
Ships have also disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle. Among them is the Mary Celeste, an American merchant ship, in 1872. The ship was sailing from New York to Genoa, but was later found off the coast of Africa without any crew members on board. Although there is no evidence that the Mary Celeste even entered the Bermuda Triangle there are many who connect its mysterious disappearance with the area.
There are many theories about why so many airplanes and ships have disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle. Some suggest that there are special magnetic fields that cause unknown physical forces. Others say that the lost continent of Atlantis sank in the region causing mysterious events. There is even a theory about unknown chemicals in the waters of the Atlantic.
Some experts, however, point out that the region north of the Caribbean is not as safe as it may seem. It is one of two places on Earth where the compass points to the geographic North Pole. It is also a region in which the weather is unpredictable and where storms can emerge quickly. There are strong currents because of shallow places and deep trenches in the ocean. These factors can confuse even experienced sailors.
Over 1,000 people were killed in The Bermuda Triangle during the 20th century. Scientists have concluded that this figure is normal and most disappearances have a logical explanation. The myth of the Bermuda Triangle, however, remains.
- accident = a situation in which someone is killed or hurt
- although = while
- break off = to go lost
- Caribbean = area between North, Central and South America
- cause = lead to
- century = a period of a hundred years
- coast = shore; where water meets land
- confuse = mix up
- connect = link
- cover = spread from one place to another
- crew = here: people who flew the planes
- current = a movement of the water
- disappear = to be lost or not possible to find
- emerge = come up
- even though = while
- evidence = proof, facts
- experienced = skilled; to have a lot of practice
- explanation = the reasons you give for why something happened
- force = power
- fully = completely
- incident = event, something that happened
- landmark = something that is easy to see and that you know
- located = to be found
- logical = reasonable
- map = a drawing of an area that shows roads, rivers, mountains etc…
- merchant ship = ship that has goods on board and brings them to other places
- mission = journey, trip
- mysterious = unusual, strange
- myth = legend
- navigate = find the way
- point out = mention
- prove = to show that something is true
- reading = the number that an instrument shows
- reasonable = logical
- reef = a line of sharp rocks near the surface of the sea
- remain = stay
- rescue = to save someone from a dangerous situation
- routine = everyday
- sailor = person who works on a ship
- several = many
- shallow = not deep
- sudden = unexpected, quick
- suggest = say, put forward
- surround = to be around
- throughout = in all of
- trench = long narrow hole
- unknown = not known
- unpredictable = something that you cannot foretell
- unusual = not normal
- vanish = disappear
- visibility = sight; the distance it is possible to see
- voyage = sea trip
- wreck = to damage something completely