The Bermuda Triangle is an imprecisely defined area in the North Atlantic between Miami, Puerto Rico, and Bermuda that is known for many mysterious plane and ship disappearances, especially during the 20th century. 

Planes in fact regularly fly over the Bermuda Triangle, despite the area being associated with disappearances.  

You may have already heard a lot about the Bermuda Triangle, but is all fact or fiction?

There are many theories about these disappearances, ranging from paranormal explanations to harsh weather or human error. 

What is the Bermuda Triangle?

The Bermuda Triangle is an imprecisely-defined area in the North Atlantic Ocean bounded by Bermuda, Puerto Rico, and Miami.

The urban legend of the Bermuda Triangle began in the mid-twentieth century because many planes and ships disappeared in that region. 

Where the Bermuda Triangle is Located

The Bermuda Triangle is the area roughly bounded by Miami, Puerto Rico, and Bermuda.

It’s not a clear, geographically defined area, and different writers assign different borders to it.

The Bermuda Triangle is anywhere between 1,300,000 – 3,900,000km2 or 500,000 – 1,510,000 sq miles in size, depending on how it is has been defined.

Flights That Have Gone Missing Over the Bermuda Triangle

Douglas DC-3

A Douglas DC-3 aircraft disappeared on a flight from Puerto Rico to Miami on December 28, 1948.

An investigation of the flight achieved no results, and no trace of the 32 people onboard the flight was ever found.

An Aeronautics Board investigation also failed to determine the cause of the flight’s disappearance. 

Eastern Caribbean Airways Flight 912

Eastern Caribbean Airways Flight 912 flew from St. Croix to St. Thomas on November 3, 1978.

The control tower in St. Thomas sighted the aircraft, but it vanished shortly after, and no trace of the flight was found. 

Star Tiger Incident

The Avro Tudor G-AHNP known as ‘Star Tiger’ disappeared with 33 people onboard during a flight from the Azores to Bermuda on January 30, 1948.

The cause of the plane’s disappearance was never confirmed. 

Why Planes Have Gone Missing Over the Bermuda Triangle

These are the 5 most common Bermuda Triangle theories as to why planes have gone missing. 

1. Paranormal Reasons

Many proponents of the Bermuda Triangle legend suggest the disappearances are caused by paranormal activities.

However, there is no evidence to support any paranormal explanation for plane disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle. 

2. Magnetic Interference with compass

Some theorize that unusual or unknown magnetic anomalies or phenomena exist in the Bermuda Triangle that prevents compasses and navigational equipment from properly working. 

The supposed magnetic anomalies would prevent navigational equipment from properly working, resulting in ships and planes crashing and sinking. 

This explanation is unproven, and many nautical and aviation experts dispute it. 

3. Gulf Stream

The Gulf Stream is a major ocean water current that flows from the Gulf of Mexico through the Straits of Florida into the North Atlantic Ocean.

The Gulf Stream is like a river in an ocean, so it carries away floating objects. 

The Gulf Stream hypothesis states that the Gulf Stream carries away ships and seaplanes, but, this theory doesn’t address how planes also disappear, so it’s not widely accepted. 

4. Harsh Weather Conditions

Many storms and hurricanes pass through the Bermuda Triangle.

So, some theorists believe these storms and hurricanes cause the disappearances in the area, especially since pre-satellite ships couldn’t receive hurricane or weather warnings. 

This explanation is plausible for many 20th-century disappearances, but doesn’t necessarily address more recent ones. 

Related: Can Planes Fly Over Hurricanes?

5. Pilot error

Human error is also a commonly cited explanation for the loss of aircraft and ships over the Bermuda Triangle.

Pilots may panic, make mistakes while flying or sailing through harsh weather, and accidentally crash or sink. 

This explanation is only likely for some disappearance cases because many highly experienced, skilled pilots have disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle.

However, pilot error is the most plausible explanation for the disappearances over the Bermuda Triangle.

Not That Many Planes Have Gone Missing Over the Bermuda Triangle

Around 20 planes have gone missing over the Bermuda Triangle across 14 known incidents between 1945 and 2017.

The wreckage of only a few of these planes has been found so far.

Pilots Will Regularly Fly Over the Bermuda Triangle

Flightrader24 shows many active flights crossing the Bermuda Triangle every day., so the superstitions of the Bermuda Triangle have not prevented most pilots from flying over the region. 

Pilots have constant support from air traffic control during navigational issues.

Air traffic control also closely monitors weather conditions in the area.

While incidents over the Bermuda Triangle still happen today, occurrences don’t necessarily occur more often than in other regions. 

Pilots Will Avoid Flying Over the Pacific Ocean, Though

Most airlines avoid flying over the Pacific Ocean because it’s not a desirable route.

The Pacific Ocean is more remote than the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, which also makes it less safe.

There are also shorter and safer alternatives to flying routes over the Pacific Ocean. 

As Well as Over Antarctica

While pilots can theoretically fly over Antarctica, it’s rarely done due to there being very few viable reasons to do so.

Harsh weather conditions, visibility issues, a lack of infrastructure and navigation concerns, including navigational equipment failure due to magnetic fields, are the main reasons planes will avoid flying over Antarctica with few exceptions.

And Even Over Tibet

Planes do not fly over Tibet due to its geographical makeup.

Tibet has an average elevation of 14,000 feet while panes cruise at higher altitudes of over 30,000 feet and only need to descend to 10,000 feet during emergencies like cabin depressurization.

Planes would crash if they descended over Tibet. 

While there are actually a few airports in Tibet, it remains a difficult region to fly over because of its high elevation. 

Flying Over the Gulf of Mexico is Fine

Planes regularly fly over the Gulf of Mexico, despite the Bermuda Triangle superstitions.

Some flights may avoid the Gulf of Mexico at certain times due to weather concerns, but most planes safely fly over the region. 

In conclusion:

  • The Bermuda Triangle is an imprecisely defined region between Bermuda, Puerto Rico, and Miami that has a reputation for many unexplained plane and boat disappearances.
  • Even so, may planes safely fly over the Bermuda Triangle every single day.
  • Theorists credit these disappearances to paranormal activity, unknown magnetic anomalies, and bad weather.
  • Despite its infamous reputation, flights regularly pass over the Bermuda Triangle without incident today, and there aren’t more incidents in the Bermuda Triangle than over any regions.

Ella Dunham, a Freelance Travel Journalist and Marketing Manager, boasts an impressive career spanning eight years in the travel and tourism sectors.

Honored as one of "30 Under 30" by TTG Media (the world’s very first weekly travel trade newspaper), a "Tour Operator Travel Guru" and "Legend Award" winner, Ella is also a Fellow of the Institute of Travel, a Member of the Association of Women Travel Executives, has completed over 250 travel modules, and hosts travel-focused segments on national radio shows where she provides insights on travel regulations and destinations.

Ella has visited over 40 countries (with 10 more planned this year).