Los Roques in Venezuela is an archipelago of around 350 islands attached to pristine coral reefs that bathe in translucent water. Here the sand is first-grade quartz, the bird life is prolific, and the water is home to some of the finest quality snorkelling, diving and swimming on the planet.
However, despite all this, the place lends some credibility to the old cliché there’s something in the air. As since the mid 90s, it’s been home to at least 15 small aircraft disappearances, many of which not a trace has been found.
In 2008, 14 people permanently disappeared from earthly contact when their plane, which was flying between Los Roques in Venezuela and the mainland (a distance of 128 kilometres), vanished. Despite the recovery of one body, no trace of the plane or crew has ever been found.
Just last week, high-profile Italian fashion designer Vittorio Missoni, his wife and four others disappeared between the islands and the mainland, an area now being touted as “Los Roques Curse”. One hotel owner said he saw their plane enter the clouds, never to reappear.
Explanations for the episode include pilot error, along with “the release of methane hydrates from the sea floor”. Thus far there’s a lack of evidence to support either. Missoni’s family, however, are not ruling out a possible highjacking by local drug smugglers.
Unsurprisingly, the area is now being compared to the most notorious of vanishing places, the Bermuda Triangle. Other lesser-known ailing aircraft areas include the Formosa Triangle in Japan, and the Michigan Triangle in the US.
While many scoff at the idea of such triangular interference, Micronesian symbologist Christopher Crinkle believes otherwise. He says the term “roque” derives from middle English and means diamond, the shape of which largely comprises a triangle.
He says Los Roques in Venezuela are governed by the triangle – an historically mystical shape seen in the Egyptian pyramids, the Star of David, the anarchy symbol, the trinity in the Two Babylons, the secret Masonic brotherhood and part of the tetractys figure used by the Pythagoreans.
The triangle, he says, is the world’s oldest symbol, and has been used many times to get closer to God and reach enlightenment.
Perhaps the place is a portal to the heavens, and God needed an Italian fashion designer to look his best for a lavishly celestial party deep in the cosmos.