By Bill McStay
Located in the North Atlantic Ocean, some 650 miles east of the United States, the island of Bermuda, with its sub-tropical climate, is a favourite holiday destination of well-off Americans.
Like Miami in the U.S. State of Florida and the East Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, it sits at one corner of a vast area of ocean over a million square miles in extent, called the Bermuda Triangle.
It was in this area nevertheless that as long ago as 1492 the west-bound expedition of Christopher Columbus reported seeing strange lights in the night sky. From here too have come stories of vessels disappearing without trace, such as the boat SPRAY and its sailor, the round- the-world solo yachtsman Joshua Slocum, who disappeared in this area in 1909.
Even today in the Triangle, according to the United States Coastguard, over one hundred craft vanish each year.
Of all Triangle tragedies, one in particular persists in the memory of the American public. It began in the U.S. Naval Base at Fort Lauderdale, near Miami, in December 1945, some months after the end of World War Two.
On the fifth of that month, five Avenger class bombers, called Flight 19 and carrying in all fourteen airmen, left the base on a routine navigational training exercise.