Last Friday the plane carrying Italian fashion designer Vittorio Missoni as well as five other passengers and crew vanished in the archipelago off the coast of Venezuela, near the Los Roques islands. Two Venezuelan crew members piloted the craft, and Missoni was aboard with his wife Maurizia and two friends.
Missoni’s plane, a 1968, twin-engine BN-2 Islander, took off from Los Roques, scheduled to make a short trip to the Venezuelan capital Caracas, but it never arrived and so far no wreckage has been found. A Los Roques hotel owner said he last saw the airplane enter a bank or clouds and Venezuela’s civil aviation authority reported that its last recorded position was 18km south of the Los Roques.
The Missoni family said they were not ruling out the possibility that the plane had been hijacked by local drug smugglers but conspiracy theorists are speculating that it might well have fallen foul of the ‘Los Roques Curse.’
The plane’s mysterious disappearance is as yet unexplained and it, along with strange vanishings in the area over the last decade has fueled speculation that it may well be the new Bermuda Triangle.
The Bermuda Triangle, a stretch of sea between Miami, Bermuda and Puerto Rico has long had a reputation for strange, unexplained disappearances of ships and aircraft. Similar “vanishings” in the last few years in the area between Caribbean archipelago of Los Roques and Caracas (which lies 140km to the south) had led to comparisons being made.
Since the mid 90s, there have been more than 15 reported incidents in the area where small aircraft have declared emergencies, crashed or vanished. In 2008 14 people in an aircraft making the same trip as Missoni were believed to have died after the plane crashed into the sea. However no wreckage of the craft was ever recovered and search and rescue located just one body.
Some scientific explanations for the “Los Roques Curse” range from basic pilot error through to oceanic causes like the release of methane hydrates from the seabed, however because there is a distinct lack of concrete evidence, conspiracy theorists continue to speculate.
Whilst the Bermuda Triangle is probably the most notorious area for mysteries of this nature, other places as well as Los Roques have also been host to similar speculation, places such as the Formosa Triangle, the Sargasso Sea, The Michigan Triangle and the Devil’s Sea off the coast of Japan have all had their fair share of “unexplained” incidents.
All the speculation and mystery surrounding these areas makes you wonder why pilots don’t just avoid them entirely, however Nick Wall, editor of Pilot, says they are a pragmatic lot who don’t pay much heed to rumors of curses and triangles!
He 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.”