We’ve all heard the stories about the Bermuda Triangle and most of us known the terrifying tales can be explained by natural, if unusual, causes. Can the same be said for Australia’s mystifying triangle?
From sea monsters and giant squid to alien abductions and alternate dimensions, there are many theories about what happens to planes and ships that go down in the Bass Strait Triangle.
But, just like the Bermuda Triangle, the disappearances in the Bass Strait are likely a combination of less far-fetched causes including human error, treacherous weather, and plain bad luck.
The first reported disappearance over what’s known as the Bass Strait Triangle occurred in 1920 when a military Airco DH. 9A went down while searching for a missing ship.
On 19 October 1934, the Miss Hobart airliner went missing on a flight from Launceston to Melbourne. The aircraft, carrying nine passengers and two pilots, was last heard from at 10.20am near Wilson’s Promontory.
During World War Two, several aircraft were lost during low-level bombing practice in the Bass Strait.
One of the most controversial disappearances was that of Brenda Hean in September 1972. Hean, a well-known environmentalist, had taken off from Canberra in a 1930s Tiger Moth to lobby against the flooding of Lake Pedder. She and her pilot were never seen again.
Aviation investigators found no evidence of what happened, but determined the plane likely crashed between Flinders Island and Tasmania.
[Image: Jim Wilson & Lloyds Maritime Atlas]
But many environmentalists, including former Parliamentary Leader of the Australian Greens Bob Brown, declare the deaths might be the first political murders in Australian history.
A few days before she took off, Hean received a death threat on the phone, with the caller saying “I hope you can swim”. The hanger where her plane was stored had a break-in prior to departure.
Six years later, flying saucer enthusiast Frederick Valentich was on a training flight in a Cessna when he radioed air traffic control to say that he was being followed by an aircraft about 300 metres above him.
His last communication was “it’s not an aircraft”. Neither Valentich nor his plane were ever seen again.
Scientists argue that the triangle is no more or less dangerous than any other stretch of water. No one has been able to prove that mysterious disappearances occur more frequently there than in other heavily-used sections of the ocean.
What happens when scientists 'drain' water from the Bermuda Triangle? Find out below.