The Mysterious Disappearance of Flight 19

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 Flight 19

The Mysterious Disappearance of Flight 19

 

This is one of the most famous mysterious incidents of all time. It technically happened a few months after the war had ended, but it involved the U.S. military and aircraft used during World War II. The basic story is quite simple: Lieutenant Charles Taylor lead a flight of five TBM Avenger planes on a training exercise from a Naval air station in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Over the radio, Taylor complained that his compasses weren’t working and that he didn’t know where he was. After flying around in confusion for several hours, the planes ran out of gas. None of them have been seen since, and all 14 men on board were presumed dead.

 

The Navy’s inquiry was pretty clear-cut as well. Taylor had a history of getting lost while flying, and several radio operators and even junior members of Flight 19 seemed to know where they were, but following Taylor’s faulty leadership, they flew far into the Atlantic instead of back to Florida. Much of the mystery surrounding the incident stems from the Navy’s efforts to assuage Taylor’s mother, who complained when the inquiry blamed her son without hard evidence. They changed it to, “cause unkown.”

 Flight 19

Later writers would wrap supernatural elements around the story, creating the legend of the Bermuda Triangle and inventing details out of whole cloth, such as pilots having premonitions of tragedy that prevented them from joining the doomed flight, and mysterioso radio transmissions like, “the sky is all wrong here.”

It’s a creepy enough story on its own – five planes lost over open sea with night falling and bad weather moving in, the encroaching certainty of their own deaths looming over them. The actual final radio transmission was a faint, garbled message. Radio operaters could only make out the flight’s call sign, “FT…FT…FT…”

Since the planes have still never been recovered, the true fate of Flight 19 technically remains a mystery.