The Bermuda Triangle is in all likelihood not where the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 will turn up, but that has not stopped internet hoaxers and scammers — and even one Malaysian political figure, from invoking the name of the supposedly mysterious region off the Florida coast that has a reputation as a graveyard for missing planes.
A hoax spreading on Facebook over the past few days involves a viral post with a link that promises, "Video of Malaysia MH370 Plane found in Bermuda Triangle! Passengers alive!"
The link is attributed to a site supposedly called "insidevideo.net" and features a plausible-looking and frankly shocking photo of an airliner partially submerged, but apparently floating in waters just feet off a coastline, somewhere — somewhere that may or may not be the Bermuda Triangle.
The Hoax Slayer site exposed this scam for what it is, an attempt to "trick Facebook users into promoting the bogus material via Facebook shares and participating in bogus online surveys."
Clicking on the link brings users to another Facebook page where they, before they are allowed to see the supposed spectacular video of the missing plane in the Bermuda Triangle, are asked to share the post with other users. The point is to trick you into "doing the scammer's dirty work by promoting the message across the network," Hoax Slayer says.
Next, you go to the "video" page, but there is — surprise! — no video. Instead, the user must fill out a series of online surveys and accept various "offers." But, if you haven't figured this out already, you absolutely should not accept any such offers or fill out any of the surveys.
No matter how many offers you're suckered into accepting, you will never see that allegedly amazing video because as you will be shocked, shocked to discover, it doesn't exist.
The picture in the Facebook post actually comes from a scary but non-fatal crash in which a plane came up short of a runway in Bali in April of last year. Bali, of course, is nowhere near the Bermuda Triangle and the plane depicted in the Facebook photo is a Lion Air 737-800, not a Malaysia Airlines 777-200.
But that scam isn't the only time the Bermuda Triangle has come up in connection to the Malasyia Airlines Flight 370 mystery. Early in the crisis, Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, a politician in Malaysia's opposition party, drew outrage when he tweeted, "New Bermuda Triangle detected in Vietnam waters, well-equipped sophisticated devices are of no use!"
@piersmorgan @bobkurus new bermuda triangle detected in vietnam waters, well equipped sophisticated devices are of no use!Whether he was dumb enough to believe what he said, or insensitive enough to think his remark was funny, remains unclear. But he was slammed for both.
— YB DS Mohammad Nizar (@mbnizar) March 8, 2014
The Bermuda Triangle, for those of you who weren't around to watch bad TV documentaries in the 1970s, is an area between Miami, Bermuda and Puerto Rico where a number of flights have allegedly gone missing.
The most famous of the Bermuda Triangle "mysteries" involved an entire squadron of five Navy Avenger airplanes — similar to the plane pictured above — on a training mission in 1945 that never made it home. The Navy has always said that the squadron simply made a navigational mistake and ran out of fuel.
But Bermuda Triangle conspiracy theorists cite the case as prime evidence that something otherworldly in that region causes aircraft to vanish off the face of the Earth.