The first plane of flight 19 took off from the Fort Lauderdale Naval Air Station on 5 December 1945 short after two o'clock in the afternoon. The pilot was the flight-leader lieutenant Charles Taylor. The other four Avengers followed with short breaks. It would be just a routine-flight, one of the many practice-flights, which were carried out day-to-day from the airport. The route had a shape from a triangle: 300 kilometers to the east, 75 kilometers to the north and then back to the airport. There was absolute nothing that said something could go wrong. The pilots and the crew were all experienced aviators and this was the second time that they flew this route. The airplanes, Marine Grumman TBM-3 Avenger torpedo bomber, had enough fuel for 1800 kilometers and were equipped with some temporary arrangements like lifeboats and portable radio. It was a beautiful day. The flight must only take 2 hours.
Planned route of the 5 avengers.
The first clue that there were problems came about 15.45 hour, when the flight should be in the neighborhood of the base.An obvious worried air-traffic controller break up the radio silence to report an emergency situation.
Taylor: Calling control tower.
This is an emergency call.
We appear to go out of course.
We don't see land.
I repeat: We don't see land.
Fort Lauderdale: What's your position?
Taylor: We are not sure about our position.
We don't know our exact position…
We seems to be lost...
Fort Lauderdale: You must point yourself exact on the west.
Taylor: We don't know where the west is.
There something wrong...even the ocean is different then it should to be...
Then the communication between the flight and Fort Lauderdale was disconnected, maybe as result from atmospheric disturbance. At 16.00 hour men heard in the control tower that Taylor hand over the command to another pilot, George Stiver.
Taylor (of Stivers): We don't know where we are.
We think that we are 225 miles (415 kilometers) northeast of the base.
It seems to be that we are going to come in frothy water… don't come after me or...
This was the second time that the radio connection was disconnected only this time forever.