Has the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle, or Devil’s Triangle, been solved?

An Australian believes mathematical probabilities can perfectly explain the Bermuda Triangle phenomenon. Karl Kruszelnicki, Ph.D., who most call “Dr. Karl,” is an Australian science communicator and a well-known science author. Dr. Karl is also a physicist, engineer, and mathematician. He is perhaps most beloved in his country for his role as a science commentator on Australian radio and television programs, including “Great Moments in Science” and “Sleek Geeks.” 

Throughout his long career, he has won numerous awards for his work in science communication, which includes the Eureka Prize for promoting science.

He believes that fast-changing, often unpredictable weather patterns and less-experienced pilots, along with the sheer volume of traffic in a tricky area to navigate, are the leading causes of disappearances in the area. Dr. Karl is not alone in his thinking, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association has expressed the same for years.

Where Is the Bermuda Triangle?

The Bermuda Triangle sits in the southwestern sector of the North Atlantic Ocean, roughly marked on the map by Miami, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico. The triangular shape of the area covers at least 500,000 square miles. It is an area that has gained notoriety for the haunting disappearances of ships and planes occurring there over the past two centuries or so. The few dozen high-profile incidents in the Bermuda Triangle contribute to the area’s mysterious and fascinating reputation.

Some conspiracy theorists propose the presence of extraterrestrial spaceships swallowing up entire vessels without a trace. But no valid evidence exists to support those supernatural or extraterrestrial theories. Yet, conspiracy theorists continue to spread rumors about other-worldly causes because they claim they have no answers.

But Dr. Karl disagrees.

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Dr. Karl Explains the Most Likely Causes of the Lost Ships and Planes in the Devil’s Triangle

Kruszelnicki has repeatedly made his thoughts on the Bermuda Triangle clear, insisting that the numbers don’t lie. He has pointed out that even high-profile disappearances, such as Flight 19, a group of five U.S. Navy TBM Avenger torpedo bombers lost in 1945, can be attributed to poor weather or likely human error.

The area is also known for its magnetic anomalies, which may affect compass readings and cause navigational errors. The Gulf Stream, a strong ocean current, runs through the region and is known for its tendency towards violent changes in weather, which can cause havoc for ships and planes.

NOAA Has Shared Similar Past Findings About this Treacherous Part of the Atlantic Ocean

According data provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), environmental considerations can explain away most of the Bermuda Triangle disappearances. Their data concurs with Dr. Karl’s findings–and has for decades.

NOAA reporting explains that factors that contribute to the notoriety of the region include the following:

  • The Gulf Stream cuts through the area, wreaking weather havoc–often with little notice.
  • Many islands and inlets in the Caribbean Sea have significantly shallow spots, creating complicated navigational challenges.
  • The Bermuda Triangle may have a magnetic compass pointing to the true north instead of the magnetic north. That, admittedly, is still something that researchers are learning about.

Each of these factors arrives at the same conclusions reached by Dr. Karl. Challenging conditions in this region of the Atlantic can lead to confusion in wayfinding, causing tragic outcomes.

Recent Vessel Recoveries From the Bermuda Triangle

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And what of those never-found ships and planes? 

NOAA attributes the largely unreclaimed wreckage to the catastrophic impact of large waves, gale-force winds, and hurricane activity. Each of those carries the possibility of the utter destruction of the lost vessels.

But that does not mean that all wrecks are missing forever.  

In 2020, the wreckage of the SS Cotopaxi was discovered off the Florida coastline. The SS Cotopaxi was a steam-powered coal carrier built during World War I. It left on an ill-fated voyage in November 1925 from Charleston, South Carolina. Its destination was Havana, Cuba. The crew sent a distress signal in December 1925. Their communication stated they had encountered a late-season tropical storm and were taking on water. They lost contact after that transmission. 

More recently, the Bermuda Triangle mystery deepened. Film crews filming a documentary for the History Channel recovered something they were not seeking in 2022. They inadvertently spotted a 20-foot section of the space shuttle Challenger. Realizing that it was modern materials, they notified authorities. NASA confirmed the validity of the find. 

A NASA spokesman commented the following on the recovery:

“While it has been nearly 37 years since seven daring and brave explorers lost their lives aboard Challenger, this tragedy will forever be seared in the collective memory of our country. For millions around the globe, myself included, Jan. 28, 1986, still feels like yesterday. This discovery gives us an opportunity to pause once again, to uplift the legacies of the seven pioneers we lost, and to reflect on how this tragedy changed us. At NASA, the core value of safety is – and must forever remain – our top priority, especially as our missions explore more of the cosmos than ever before.”  – Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator

The Devil’s Triangle Is a Much-Used Shipping and Travel Lane

The Bermuda Triangle has long been shrouded in mystery and conspiracy theories due to the dozens of ships and planes that have disappeared in the area over the last century. However, Kruszelnicki and the NOAA do not subscribe to the Bermuda Triangle’s supernatural reputation. They believe that the loss and disappearance of ships and planes is a fact of probability that occurs at the same rate as in any other large, well-traveled region in any ocean.

The truth about he region is this. The Atlantic Ocean is actually a well-used shipping and flight lane. Humans have navigated it for centuries and continue to use it for trade and travel today–more than you might assume.

In fact, if you have ever flown to a Caribbean destination, you’ve probably traveled directly into the area. A leading travel publication unequivocally states the following:

 “If you’ve ever traveled to the Caribean, you’ve probably flown over the mythical region.” – Travel + Leisure

Considering the many flights and cruises to popular vacation spots in the region, there are relatively few disappearances. The area recorded about fifty vanished ships and twenty lost planes since the middle of the 1800s. No passengers aboard these vessels survived. While all loss of life is tragic, these numbers represent a tiny fraction of the travelers through the area over the centuries.

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Final Thoughts on Solving the Mystery of the Bermuda Triangle

Despite the scientific explanations for the Bermuda Triangle, culture clings to conspiracy theories. The concepts of sea monsters, aliens, and even the entirety of Atlantis dropping to the ocean floor remain an overarching theme in books, television, and movies. 

However, Dr. Karl and NOAA maintain that there is no Bermuda Triangle mystery. Mathematical probability supports this easy explanation. The data strongly suggests that environmental factors and human fallibility are the true culprits behind disappearances in the area. The mystery of the Devil’s Triangle–solved.