It is December 1945, and a squadron of five bombers is conducting a routine flight over the Atlantic Ocean. Yet even though the mission seems to involve minimal risk, somehow the pilots have become disorientated. Their radio exchanges consequently become heated and confused – and then they drop off altogether. This is the last that anybody ever hears from the group. And the mystery of their disappearance remains unsolved for 70 years – until scientist Karl Kruszelnicki claimed to have the answer.
Known as Flight 19, the squadron consisted of five Grumman TBM-type Avenger torpedo bombers. Apparently, their flight that day was supposed to be an unremarkable training exercise. Departing from Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale in Florida, the squadron planned to follow a 354-mile circular flight path, heading east and north, before arcing back to base.
But something went wrong. And according to author Allan W. Eckert, who wrote a chilling account of the incident in American Legion magazine in 1962, whatever happened appeared to seriously spook the flight leader. Eckhert in fact wrote that the leader said, “Nothing seems right. We don’t know where we are, the water is green, no white…”