Last week ended the highly-successful The Triangle mini-series on the Sci-Fi Channel. Normally, I am not a big fan of this type of genre but I thoroughly enjoyed the three-part adventures about a diverse group of individuals teamed together in seeking to unravel the mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle. As I have mentioned in our previous blog articles, I led a team of twenty scientists, divers and other underwater professionals on a discovery/exploration expedition to find one of the search & rescue aircraft that was sent out to find the five missing Avenger aircraft on December 5th, 1945 that also disappeared. In total, six Navy aircraft and 27 airmen were lost on that fateful day.
In early April of 2005, I was approached by NBC News Productions and asked if I would be interested in trying to find the Martin Mariner PBM-5 aircraft that went missing and disappeared off the coast of Florida. I was very aware of the famed Avenger TBM’s that formed one of the biggest mysteries of the Triangle lore but knew very little about this Mariner aircraft. Last year, I watched a documentary on the Discovery Channel about trying to find the lost Avengers with using submersibles from Harbor Branch (Johnson Sea-Link) and Graham Hawkes revolutionary designed Deep Flight Aviator. One of my friends, Dr. Captain (USN Ret) Alfred McLaren, a retired United States Navy nuclear submarine captain, is very close friend of Graham and is a certified pilot of Deep Flight Aviator. Captain McLaren told me about Graham finding five lost Avengers clustered together several miles away from Ft Lauderdale in the early 1990s. To everyone’s amazement, these 5 Navy Avengers were NOT the missing Avengers from the lost flight of December 5th, 1945. I asked NBC News to give me a week to do some preliminary research and I would then get back to them regarding my decision to take on this project.
Using Nautical Research Group’s vast array of informational resources, we were able to extract out some very pertinent information about the aircraft but needed much more work to do from other sources to put together an expedition proposal. In this section of the ocean where the United States Navy had provided their coordinates for the Mariner, many ships ply up and down the Atlantic. What was very apparent to me was that the aircraft was broken up in many small pieces otherwise others would have found this aircraft many years ago. Knowing how difficult it is to find huge shipwrecks using the latest technology, I accepted the project knowing that we had a do an extensive search for extremely small pieces of debris. My original proposal called for this expedition to be two weeks in duration. Once my initial proposal was submitted to NBC News, they called me up and said that they had good news and bad news. The good news is that the proposal was accepted by the NBC executives in Rockefeller Center; however, the bad news was that the duration of the expedition would be only one week. I decided to accept the project but only after I had completed my diving expeditions to the Empress of Ireland and Titanic.
This series will contain several parts that can be retrieved at any time using the category called Mariner Project on the far right column of the web log. I look forward to hearing your comments on this series!