While the mysterious Bermuda Triangle fascinated our collective imagination for a long time and has inspired haunting folklore and stories passed from generation to generation, very few people are aware of another mysterious triangle–The Nevada Triangle.
The Nevada Triangle encompasses more than 25,000 square miles stretching roughly from about Reno, Nevada in the north, to Fresno, California in the southwest, to Las Vegas, Nevada to the southeast. It encompasses a vast landscape including both mountain desert terrain, where the rugged Sierra Nevada peaks give way to the dusty and barren desert of Death Valley.
This area, which is sparsely populated and covers a vast expanse of desert and mountain terrain, is the setting of some 2,000 aviation incidents over the past 60 years. Skeptics chalk it up to rough weather conditions, wind shear or inexperienced pilots, but none of those explanations can fully tell the story of the Nevada Triangle.
The Nevada Triangle hides many tragedies. From small private aircraft to military bombers, countless lives have been lost in the unforgiving Nevada Triangle. The earliest known plane lost in the Triangle was a B-24 bomber that went missing in December 1943. One of the six B-24s that were sent out the following day to search was also lost. That second plane was found in 1955; the second wasn’t located until 1960. Many more that have crashed there have never been found.
Probably the most memorable incident involving the Nevada Triangle was the 2007 disappearance of billionaire Steve Fossett. An American businessman and famous contemporary adventurer, the 63-year-old Fossett was certainly not an inexperienced pilot.
He was the first person to fly a balloon solo nonstop around the world, and the first to circumnavigate the globe 5 times in a single, non-stop flight. So, it’s actually quite an understatement to call Fossett an “experienced pilot.”
Fossett disappeared in the early hours of Sept. 3, which was Labor Day that year. He flew a small plane out from a private ranch in Nevada, headed for California. When he failed to arrive at his intended destination, a massive search was launched. His friends and rescue groups spent countless hours and millions of dollars on rescue efforts, which sadly eventually became recovery efforts.
Despite these efforts, nothing related to Fossett was discovered until just over a year later, when a hiker found some bone fragments. This find eventually led to the discovery of the wreckage of Fossett’s airplane. The investigation’s final report cited terrain and downdrafts as the causes of the accident. But considering that conditions were ideal when Fossett took off, this conclusion seems suspicious.
Experts often claim that air currents descending the Eastern slope of the mountains cause volatile wind conditions and downdrafts up to 400 mph, leaving aircraft prone to disaster. But skilled pilots are likely to be extra-cautious when encountering this combination of turbulent winds and rugged terrain. This caution is only compounded by the fact that the secluded location makes the hope of rescue unlikely should disaster strike.
But it’s important to note that those “expert” theories neglect to consider one crucial point: Area 51 lies within the Nevada Triangle. Area 51 is a highly classified outpost of Edwards Air Force Base and is one of the U.S. military’s most closely guarded secrets–test flights, and possibly even extraterrestrial investigations, occur there. Area 51 has reached the status of infamy, as it’s the core of innumerable extraterrestrial, UFO, and conspiracy theories.