‘Alaska Triangle’ Has the Highest Rate of Disappearances in the U.S.

More than 16,000 people—air passengers, hikers, locals and tourists—have gone missing since 1988. 

Lituya Bay
Lituya Bay in the Alaska Triangle. (Wikipedia Commons)
National Oceanic and Atmospheric

The so-called Alaska Triangle connects the state’s largest city, Anchorage, its capital in the southern panhandle, Juneau, and Barrow, a small town on the state’s north coast. This region is filled with some of the North America’s most unforgiving and mysterious wilderness. The latter began attracting public attention in 1972, when a small, private plane carrying U.S. House Majority Leader Hale Boggs and another U.S. Congressman seemingly vanished into thin air while flying through it. For more than a month, 50 civilian planes and 40 military aircraft covered a search area of 32,000 square miles. But no trace of the plane or the men were ever found.

Since 1988, more than 16,000 people have disappeared into the ‘Alaska Triangle,’ including hikers, airplane passengers, locals, and tourists. The subject of Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, Chris McCandless, was eventually found dead inside the ‘Triangle.’ Here, the missing persons rate is more than twice the national average. People have blamed everything from heavy weather to aliens, but The Manual writes that the most likely explanation is geography. Alaska’s massive glaciers are covered in holes, filled hidden caves, and have building-sized crevasses, all which provide the perfect burying grounds for a downed aircraft or a lost hiker. And the heavy, year-round snowfall can quickly cover any trace of human activity.

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