More People Disappear in the Alaska Triangle Than Anywhere in the U.S.

alaska triangle wilderness
Alaska ShoreZone Program NOAA/NMFS/AKFSC; Courtesy of Mandy Lindeberg, NOAA/NMFS/AKFSC

If you’re a fan of alien-heavy conspiracies, high school geometry, and tropical islands, it doesn’t get more intriguing than the Bermuda Triangle (a.k.a. Devil’s Triangle). That was, of course, until the mystery of The Triangle was finally solved last year! Well … not really.

No matter, because we still have The Alaska Triangle and it’s way, way more interesting.

The Alaska Triangle borders connect Anchorage and Juneau in the south to Barrow along the state’s north coast. Like much of the state, the vast expanse within the triangle’s perimeter contains some of the most rugged, unforgiving wilderness in North America. Boreal forest, craggy mountain peaks, alpine lakes, and large swaths of apparent nothingness. Amid this dramatic backdrop, it’s hardly surprising that people go missing. What is surprising is the sheer number of people who go missing. Add to that the fact that many disappear without any evidence, and bodies (alive or dead) or rarely ever found.

Interest in the Alaska Triangle began in 1972 when a small, private craft carrying U.S. House Majority Leader Hale Boggs’ seemingly vanished into thin air somewhere between Juneau and Anchorage. What followed was one of the nation’s largest-ever search-and-rescue missions. For more than a month, 50 civilian planes and 40 military craft scoured a search grid of 32,000 square miles. They found not a trace of anything.

alaska triangle h  boggs and president johnson v2
President Lyndon B. Johnson (right) with House Majority Whip Hale Boggs (left).

Again, given the sheer size of the Triangle, it’s easy to chalk up its “mysteries” to the obvious perils of traveling through such a vast, inhospitable landscape. But, by the numbers, it seems something more interesting is at play. More than 16,000 souls — including airplane passengers and hikers, locals and tourists — have disappeared within the Alaska Triangle since 1988. The rate per 1,000 people is more than twice the national average.

For almost as long as there have been planes flying over the Atlantic Ocean, theories have abounded about the nature of the Bermuda Triangle. Lovers of lore and mystery have postulated everything from unusually heavy air and bizarre weather patterns to alien involvement and energy lasers from the lost city of Atlantis. Many have speculated similar reasons for the disappearances within the Alaska Triangle.

The most likely scientific explanation, however, is due to geography. The state’s massive glaciers are rife with giant holes, hidden caves, and building-sized crevasses which all provide the perfect burying grounds for downed aircraft. Once an aircraft crash-lands or a hiker becomes stranded, the fast-moving, year-round snow squalls can easily bury any trace of a person or even a plane.

At least, that’s what the scientific community would like us to believe. But, we’re going to keep looking into the wormholes and alien reverse gravity technology because both are way more interesting.