Readers: We're giving a nod to a Palm Beach County man who insisted he'd solved one of the world's great mysteries. It comes back, as they all do, to Florida. By coincidence, Thursday, Dec. 5 is the 74th anniversary!
In November, Linda Riutta let us know her longtime friend, Jon Myhre, had died at 76 in October 2018. In a 1988 story by longtime Palm Beach Post columnist Ron Wiggins, Myhre, then of Lantana, said he knew what happened to Flight 19.
The Dec. 5, 1945, vanishing of the five U.S. Navy Avenger torpedo bombers, with a crew of 14, birthed nothing less than the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle.
The planes had left Fort Lauderdale for the Bahamas, then north, then back. Mission instructor Capt. Charles Taylor, disoriented by tailwinds and cloud cover, radioed the squadron was over the Florida Keys. After that, nothing.
The reporting of a garbled radio transmission that sort of sounded like, “Don't come after us. They look like they're from outer space!” sent the triangle mystery off and running.
Stretching from Bermuda to Puerto Rico to South Florida, it’s where numerous ships and planes reportedly vanished without explanation, although most disappearances were in fact explained.
Read more Florida history: Here are Florida’s top 25 stories of all time
In 1982, as Myhre read a book about the Triangle, he saw that Taylor, the instructor, had radioed about a malfunctioning compass. Myhre's guess: the planes passed over Grand Bahama Island but never saw it, and when they broke out of the clouds they saw islands that looked just like the Keys, and flew north instead of west.
Myhre was convinced one Avenger was 35 miles east of Cape Canaveral. After the 1986 Challenger disaster, a sub searching for parts of the space shuttle discovered a DC-3 aircraft. Myhre was convinced it instead was his Avenger. He got an investor and pulled up the plane. It was an Avenger, all right, although any identifying numbers had dissolved in sea water.
Myhre later wrote a book about his search.
READER REWIND: What's your Florida claim to fame? Share it with Eliot by leaving a voicemail at (850) 270-8418. And listen to an episode below:
Linda Riutta tells us he should be noted as well for his bravery in combat in Vietnam, where he was shot down and wounded not once, but twice.
The Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum will hold a ceremony at noon Thursday, Dec. 5.
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