E. V. W. Jones AP article

Miami Herald, 17 September 1950, page 6F

Same Big World

Sea's Puzzles Still Baffle Men In Pushbutton Age

By E. V. W. Jones
Miami Associated Press Writer

It's a small world? No, it's still the same vast globe the ancients knew, with the same misty limbo of the lost.

We think it is small because of speeding wheels and wings and the voice of radio which comes out of the void. A mile is only a minute's travel by wheel or a few seconds flight -- but it is still a mile.

The miles add up to a vast unknown into which a hundred and more persons have flown or sailed within brief memory, to be swallowed up just as ships were swallowed in the old sailing days.

The Sandra carried radio. It was a 350-foot freighter which sailed with 12 men on board from Miami to Savannah. There 300 tons of insecticide were loaded for Puerto Cabello, Venezuela. The Sandra sailed -- and disappeared without a trace.

On June 16, in the "small world" year of 1950, search was abandoned. The fate of the craft and the dozen on board was written down as an official mystery.

Where are the men and women and two babies -- 32 presons in all -- who happily boarded a plane at San Juan, Puerto Rico, and flew 1,000 miles toward Miami? A radio message at 4 a. m. Dec. 27, 1948, reported them 50 miles south of their goal. They never arrived.

Searchers scanned 310,000 miles of sea and land, but the elusive limbo into which they flew was on no map.

On Jan. 18, 1949, a great task force of the United States Navy was on maneuvers south of Bermuda. That same day a British airliner, the Ariel, vanished in the thin air through which it flew. The plane had left Bermuda with 20 persons on board on its way from London to Chile.

The naval force abandoned its maneuvers. Aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers combed the waters with thousands of pairs of shap eyes on watch. They found no hint of the Ariel's fate.

A year earlier, on Jan. 31, 1948, another Britsh plane, the Star Tiger, approached Bermuda with 29 on board. The craft radioed its position several times. Then silence enveloped it, and mystery. To this day no trace has been uncovered.

An older but more perplexing mystery is that of the five torpedo planes. They took off from the Navy's Fort Lauderdale air station on Dec. 5, 1945, for a navigational training flight. The hours passed and darkness fell. Anxious officers called to them by radio and were answered only with silence.

The hour passed when their fuel would be exhausted and search planes were sent out. Among the searchers was a big, lumbering rescue craft, a PBM with 13 men on board.

None of the five torpedo planes with the 14 crewmen were found despite the greatest search in Florida's history. Nor did the PBM rescue craft ever return.

These and other modern mysteries have established a roll of about 135 persons who went forth confidently into a world they thought small.

But it is the same big world the ancients knew, into which men and their machines and ships can disappear without a trace.

DAT OLE DEBBIL SEA has shrouded in riddles the fate of 135 persons who flew or sailed the Atlantic in recent years. Modern man with his pushbutton miracles has no clue to what happened to those who were swallowed without trace in the loss of ships and planes indicted on this map. --Associated Press Map