Bermuda Triangle probe boost after 80-year-old shipwreck discovery aided new search

Bermuda Triangle: Expert claims area is shaped like a ‘trapezoid’

The Bermuda Triangle is a notorious expanse of North Atlantic Ocean off the North American coast. The area of around 500,000 square miles stretches between Florida and Bermuda down to the Greater Antilles. Its mysterious waters are said to have claimed hundreds of lives over the last 200 years in a string of bizarre incidents. Some 50 ships and 20 aircraft are estimated to have vanished in the Bermuda Triangle, with many of the disappearances remaining unexplained to this day.

One of those seeking to uncover the dark secrets of the Bermuda Triangle is deep-sea explorer Rob Kraft.

Since 2017 the expert has been hunting for clues to help unravel the legends of seas around the world.

His most recent mission has been to track down the remnants of Flight 19, which vanished in the Bermuda Triangle 76 years ago.

The disappearance of Flight 19, which is one of the region’s greatest-ever mysteries, saw five US TBM Avenger Torpedo bombers vanish, never to be seen again.

On December 5, 1945, the squadron set off on a training mission from Florida just months after the end of World War Two.

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Bermuda Triangle: Investigators found 80-year-old US aircraft carrier and 35 sunken planes

Bermuda Triangle: Investigators found 80-year-old US aircraft carrier and 35 sunken planes (Image: GETTY)

Bermuda Triangle: Mysterious area on map

Bermuda Triangle: Mysterious area on map (Image: GETTY)

However, Flight 19 and its 14-man crew, as well as another 13 men sent out on a rescue mission to find them, have never been found.

Mr Kraft’s bid to solve the mystery features in a new season of the History Channel US documentary, ‘History’s Greatest Mysteries’.

Episode one of the series, presented by Laurence Fishburne, details how the explorer’s previous discoveries have informed his search for Flight 19.

One discovery which has aided his work in the Bermuda Triangle was an incredible find 500 miles off Australia’s east coast.

The documentary explains how in 2018 Mr Kraft and his team on the RV Petrel ship discovered a US aircraft carrier that was sunk during World War Two.

Flight 19: Planes similar to ones that vanished

Flight 19: Planes similar to ones that vanished (Image: GETTY)

The USS Lexington was found two miles underwater, having gone down during the Battle of the Coral Sea, fought with Japan in 1942.

A devastating 216 of the ship’s crew lost their lives during an attack.

The Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who died later in 2018, announced that his team had discovered the lost ship.

The late tech magnate owned the Petrel, which is the most advanced research vessel of its kind.

The documentary features the Petrel’s chief technician and lead researcher Paul Mayer, who explained how the team’s USS Lexington discovery was aiding their current project.

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USS Lexington: Anti-aircraft gun from ship

USS Lexington: Anti-aircraft gun from ship (Image: PAUL G. ALLEN)

The expert reviewed a 3D model of an F4F Wildcat aircraft, which was one of the planes discovered in 2018.

Mr Mayer said that by studying what the plane looks like underwater he might be able to build up an idea that may help the search for the Flight 19 planes

The technician said: “This is under about 10,000 feet of water so the paint is still in very good condition.”

Low oxygen levels in the deep ocean reduce the effect of corrosion on objects that have come to a watery grave.

The expert commented on the incredibly well-preserved detail of some of the F4Fs found in 2018.

Looking at an image of one plane, he said: “On this particular aircraft we have victory tallies here of how many Japanese planes were shot down, there’s a bomb here, representing that he did a bombing mission and the insignia of that flight crew.”

Aircraft: From USS Lexington lost in WW2 battle

Aircraft: From USS Lexington lost in WW2 battle (Image: PAUL G. ALLEN)

Mr Mayer said that by studying what the F4F looks like underwater he might be able to build up a picture of how the Flight 19 planes may appear.

Indeed, working out what planes look like after a long time underwater provided a welcome boost to the search in the Bermuda Triangle.

The US Navy confirmed the discovery of the USS Lexington, which went down after being struck by multiple Japanese torpedoes and bombs.

Mr Kraft said at the time: “Lexington was on our priority list because she was one of the capital ships that was lost during World War 2.”

The explorer’s mission with the Petrel in the Bermuda Triangle to find the lost Avengers from Flight 19 began in February of last year.

His team employs cutting-edge technology in their search, including the use of an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV).

The deep-sea drones, which can dive up to three miles below the surface, can use bursts of sonar to map the ocean floor.

History’s Greatest Mysteries is available on the History Channel US.