Monday, November 21, 2022

The Bermuda Triangle, on History Channel: The Challenger Discovery

When genre fans hear “Bermuda triangle,” we want to think ghost pirates. However, you have to treat the wrecks within that treacherous area of water with respect, because people died there, including U.S. military service personnel. The crew of History Channel’s new Bermuda Triangle expedition series made news before it aired with their discovery of a significant section of the Challenger space shuttle, the largest recovered since the mid-1990s. Logically, The Bermuda Triangle: Into Cursed Waters starts with that news-making find, when the first episode premieres tomorrow.

In terms of tone,
Into Cursed Waters is less like In Search of… and more akin to the excellent documentary To What Remains. At the beginning of the episode, the team led by Mike Barnette is actually looking for the U.S. Navy’s Martin PBM Mariner rescue plane, which was lost on December 5, 1945, somewhere in the Bermuda triangle. Ironically, the Martin Mariner was searching for the five planes of “Flight 19,” a training mission that was also lost after flying in the Bermuda Triangle that fateful day.

Barnette’s investigators identify two potential sites for the team to dive. Technically, one is a bit outside the Triangle area. It turns out what they found there did not look like a traditional aircraft. Eventually, they take their findings directly to NASA, who immediately recognize the wreck for what it is.

This story had a fair degree of media play when it happened and the History Channel press materials understandably lean into it, so it is not really much of a spoiler to reveal it is part of the Challenger. However, it is still interesting to watch the team connect the dots. It is important to note retired Air Force Lt. Col. Jason Harris is part of Barnette’s team, so they always have the benefit of a military perspective.

Usually, this kind of show is all the same to us, but the sensitivities and the successes of
Into Cursed Waters sets it apart. Right out of the gate, they found something significant, which they treated with the respect it deserved. Hopefully, they can find more U.S. Naval crash sites, to bring some closure to the surviving families. Recommended for fans of History Channel reality programming and those who saw To What Remains, the Challenger episode of The Bermuda Triangle: Into Cursed Waters premieres tomorrow (11/22) on the History Channel.