Have you ever heard of the Bermuda Triangle? That area of ocean between Florida, Puerto Rico, and Bermuda with legends about planes and ships mysteriously disappearing. Right, you sure do know your history well enough; but have you also heard of such a similar story in Alaska? Yeah, no spoilers. There’s indeed a region of wilderness in Alaska known by names like “Alaska’s Bermuda Triangle,” the “Bermuda Triangle of Alaska,” and the “Alaskan Triangle” — and no matter what name you give it, it’s far more deadly than it’s tropical cousin.
Related media: 10 Facts About The Little Known Alaska Triangle
The Alaskan Triangle
The legend about planes and ships mysteriously disappearing in the Bermuda Triangle — or The Devil’s Triangle, no surprise — is one of the mysteries in recorded history; but that legend is nothing as compared to the very real disappearances that have plagued Alaska for decades.
The Alaskan Triangle is the boarder that stretches from Barrow on the state’s north coast to Anchorage and to Juneau across the southern coast and includes vast areas of wilderness. It’s a natural habitat of sprawling wildlife, glacier mountain peaks, and desolate tundras that are (you guessed it) not the safest places in the world to be hiking. Despite hundreds of search-and-rescue missions conducted over the years, there are no trace of bodies (dead or alive) found yet.
The Alaskan Triangle first had a national widespread attention in 1972, when the United States House Majority Leader Hale Boggs’ airplane vanished somewhere between Anchorage and Juneau. This disappearance sparked one of the largest search-and-rescue missions in US history; it involved 40 military planes, 50 civilian planes, and a 39-day search of 82,880 square kilometers (32,000 square mile) area of wilderness. And after all that, the search found not even a shred of evidence: no wreckage, no debris, no bodies. Absolutely nothing!
[The United States Congress later passed a law mandating the installation of emergency locator transmitters in all US civilian aircraft.]
Oh!, that wasn’t the only one, and not even the first disappearance, either. Two aircrafts, a military aircraft with 44 passengers in 1950, and a Cessna 340 with a pilot and four passengers in 1990, vanished without a trace of their whereabout, not even a signal was heard of them. These disappearances are very rare typical cases in this region; since the late 1980s, over 16,000 people were believed to be missing in that region of Alaska. This contributes to the annual filing of roughly four missing person reports for every 1,000 people in Alaska — more than twice the national average.
So What’s The Mystery?
We really don’t know. However, its easy to debunk the disappearances of missing people and succumb to the …, but these numbers are too whopping for such an easy answer, either. Here’s one theory that gives a potential cause: The landscape might utterly obliterated them. Like huh? Back in 1947, for instance, a British South American Airways (BSAA) aircraft, the Lancastrian 3 airliner Star Dust, mysteriously vanished on route from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Santiago, Chile; and it’s fate was sealed for more than half the century.
In 1998, two Argentine mountaineers found the wreckage of the plane while ascending Mountain Tupungato; and investigations later concluded that that Star Dust might have likely crashed into a alp, and as a result, the avalanche buried it. Hmmm! Or better yet still, is it possible — likely (or unlikely) — that similar avalanches might have buried every plane that’s missing in Alaska? And what about all those people — the hikers, tourist, and Alaskans who weren’t flying planes, too?
The Myth, Or The Mystery
Dennis Waller, the author of the book ‘In Search of the Kushtaka, Alaska’s Other Bigfoot: The Land-Otter Man of the Tlingit Indians,’ explores the history behind the mythical shape-shifting creatures found in folklore myths of the indigenous Native American tribes of Tlingit and Tsimshian in southeastern Alaska. The “Kushtaka,” which roughly translates to “land-otter man,” is the Bigfoot of the Alaskan Triangle. Legend has it that the creature appears to travelers in an irresistible form — such as a relative or a vulnerable child — who lures it’s victims to a nearby river, and tears them to shreds or turns them into another Kushtaka. That’s freaking enough to explain why.
Another grounding theory explains that the deceptive glaciers of Alaska might have buried most of these planes and people underneath. Although they may appear as solid ice, actually, these glaciers are honeycombed with hidden chambers, and those crevasses can be as large as a building. Together with the fallen snow, its plausible that in the Alaskan Triangle, “disappearing in thin air,” is really being “buried in a glacier.”
Our word of caution: If you happen to venture into the Alaskan wilderness, remember to stay safe, and/or please contact the Alaskan Missing Persons Clearinghouse if you find (or need help finding) a wandering traveler.
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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Sun, Mar 24, 2019.