Last week a plane carrying six people disappeared, seemingly into thin air, above the Caribbean sea.
Speculation as to what happened to the craft, which happened to be carrying Italian fashion mogul Vittorio Missoni, has so far ranged from mechanical failure to kidnapping by drug smugglers.
But a new theory is emerging – one which points towards the “Los Roques Curse” – a phenomenon linked to the Bermuda Triangle.
Venezuelan authorities have said the twin-engine plane had enough fuel on board for a three-hour flight when it took off on Friday morning from Venezuela’s Los Roques islands, where the party had been vacationing, the Associated Press reports.
The flight was supposed to take 42 minutes, but the civil aviation agency said the authorities declared an alert after the plane didn’t make contact with the control tower at the Caracas airport.
“The last position registered in radar data and those supplied by a system on board the aircraft” was about 11 miles (18 kilometres) south of Los Roques, the National Civil Aviation Institute said in a statement over the weekend.
According to The Guardian, there have been at least 15 reported incidents since the mid-90s in which small aircraft have crashed, disappeared or declared emergencies while travelling through the area.
Most recently, a plane carrying 14 people disappeared over the Caribbean after taking off from Los Roques in 2008.
Only the pilot’s body washed ashore, The Daily Beast reported, with no traces of the other passengers or plane debris ever recovered.
The lore of the Bermuda triangle – a triangular cut of ocean from Miami to Bermuda to Puerto Rico – began in 1945 when five aircraft disappeared on a training mission in the region.
Since then, Wikipedia lists nine other disappearances, on land, sea and air related to the region.
Yet the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration points out the somewhat more plausible reasons of “ocean flatulence” (methane gas erupting from the ocean sediments) and disruptions in geomagnetic lines of flux.
It adds that the US Board of Geographic Names does not recognise the Bermuda Triangle as an official name and does not maintain an official file on the area.
Referring to the Los Roques curse, Nick Wall, editor of Pilot, told The Guardian: “There’s always some explanation for these things – even if it takes many years to uncover the answer. Pilots prefer to concentrate on the things that genuinely will help them live longer such as fuel gauges, weather reports and engine inspections.
“They are increasingly aware of previously unknown meteorological phenomena such as coastal wind shearing and mountain waves, which can cause sudden turbulence. But it is too early to know for sure what caused this latest incident.”
Live Science points out other mysterious waterways linked with doom include the so-called Michigan Triangle in Lake Michigan and the Saragossa Sea.
Several ships have been found drifting sans any crew through the calm Sargasso Sea. And, legend has it that in 1840, after sailing through the Sargasso Sea, the French merchant ship “Rosalie” was discovered with its sails set but without any crew members on board. The Michigan Triangle has been blamed for the mysterious disappearances of ship crews and entire aircraft. Another, the Devil’s Sea (also called the Pacific Bermuda Triangle) sits in the Pacific around Miyake Island, south of Tokyo. Ancient legends have it dragons lived off the coast of Japan there, also giving the area the “Dragon’s Triangle” moniker.