'The Los Roques curse': Are Venezuelan islands where fashion designer's plane vanished the new Bermuda Triangle?

The disappearance last week of the airplane carrying Italian fashion mogul Vittorio Missoni and five others across the Caribbean Sea has been blamed on everything from mechanical failure to kidnapping by drug smugglers.

Now, a new theory has emerged: The airplane and its passengers fell victim to the "Los Roques Curse," a phenomenon some have likened to the Bermuda Triangle, according to the British newspaper The Guardian.

The plane was traveling the 87 miles (140 kilometers) from the island resort of Los Roques (an archipelago consisting of hundreds of islands) to Caracas, Venezuela, on Friday when it disappeared over the open sea, according to ABC News.

Since the 1990s, at least 15 other aircraft have reported emergencies, crashed or disappeared in the same area, according to The Guardian.

In 2008, 14 people died when a plane making the same journey from Los Roques disappeared. No wreckage was ever found, and only one body was recovered, according to VolarenVenezuela, a website on civil aviation in Venezuela.

Some have claimed that disappearances like these result from massive releases of methane gas from the seafloor. Others have suggested, with no evidence, the cause may be aliens from outer space living beneath the waves, or souls from the lost underwater civilization of Atlantis.

But like the Bermuda Triangle — the stretch of open ocean between Bermuda, South Florida and Puerto Rico infamous for mysterious disappearances of ships and planes — people with less superstitious minds believe there's a rational explanation.

The Bermuda Triangle is heavily traveled, and, proportionally, sees no more disappearances than any other area. The region also produces unpredictable tropical storms, and the Gulf Stream is particularly fast and turbulent in that area.

Search teams look over Los Roques for the plane carrying fashion designer Vittorio Missoni last week

Missing: Vittorio Missoni's plane disappeared last week

"There's always some explanation for these things, even if it takes many years to uncover the answer," Nick Wall, editor of Pilot, told the Guardian.

"Pilots prefer to concentrate on the things that genuinely will help them live longer, such as fuel gauges, weather reports and engine inspections … it is too early to know for sure what caused this latest incident."

Other mysterious water worlds linked with doom are the so-called Michigan Triangle in Lake Michigan and the Sargasso Sea.

A Chicago Tribune map of the Bermuda Triangle from 1979 (PA)

Several ships have been found drifting sans any crew through the calm Sargasso Sea. And, legend has it that in 1840, after sailing through the Sargasoo Sea, the French merchant ship "Rosalie" was discovered with its sails set but without any crew members on board.

The Michigan Triangle has been blamed for the mysterious disappearances of ship crews and entire aircraft. Another, the Devil's Sea (also called the Pacific Bermuda Triangle) sits in the Pacific around Miyake Island, south of Tokyo. Ancient legends have it dragons lived off the coast of Japan there, also giving the area the "Dragon's Triangle" moniker.
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