In 2008, hikers found identification belonging to Steve Fossett, a world famous adventurer who vanished a year earlier. The vast search for Fossett focused attention on what is now called the Nevada Triangle. It’s an area not nearly as infamous as the Bermuda Triangle, but has seen far more disappearances. Aired on March 22, 2019, on KLAS TV in Las Vegas.

MYSTERY WIRE — In 2007, famed aviator Steve Fossett flew out of a landing strip in Northern Nevada and vanished. For months, searchers combed the rugged mountains looking for Fossett.

What they found instead were eight other plane wrecks no one knew about.

By one estimate, 2,000 planes had vanished in the last 60 years in what pilots call the “Nevada Triangle,” the vast area between Las Vegas, Reno and Fresno. That averages out to about three planes per month, far more than ever disappeared in the more infamous Bermuda Triangle.

  • David Paulides
  • Nevada Triangle
  • Yosemite ranger
  • Sierra Nevada winds
  • Yosemite National Park

Scientists have determined that strong winds from the Pacific create a powerful downdraft when they cross the Sierra, strong enough to slam small planes into the ground. But many of the aircraft that have gone missing weren’t small at all. A B-24 bomber and other military craft among them.

Powerful winds and treacherous weather in the Sierra Nevada Mountains are major factors in why so many planes crash and disappear in what’s called the Nevada Triangle. But it’s more than just planes that vanish. It’s also people.

For nine years, former police officer turned author David Paulides has scoured through about 20,000 missing persons files. Based on very specific criteria, he’s whittled them down to about 1,200 seemingly inexplicable mysteries — people who vanished under unusual circumstances.

Nevada Triangle
The Nevada Triangle. (KLAS-TV)

“And then I pulled out a map of Nevada and California and almost fell out of my seat,” Paulides said. “Because the largest cluster zone we’ve ever established, is in that Nevada Triangle. And there’s two other clusters that are also in that triangle.”

In a series of books, “Missing 411,” Paulides has identified dozens of clusters, many of them national parks or forests, where the number of missing is way out of the ordinary. Three of those clusters exist within the Nevada Triangle, including at the top of the list, Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is the biggest cluster that David Paulides has identified in his study of missing persons. Yosemite is within the Nevada Triangle. (KLAS-TV)

“There’s no concrete one item that you can say this is causing that,” Paulides said. “And because of no tracks, no scent trail, no witnesses to these events,  we’ve had people say, ‘Well it’s got to be UFOs, it’s got to be reptilians, it’s got to be Bigfoot, it’s got to be this.’

“In reality, I don’t think you can say it’s just one thing,” he said.

Often, the missing vanish into thin air, even when they are hiking in a group. Dogs are unable to pick up any scent. There are no tracks. Small children who vanish are found days later, many miles away, over mountain ranges.

Human abductions and animal attacks are ruled out. For years, Paulides requested lists of missing persons from the National Park Service but was told they don’t keep any such lists. More recently, Yosemite officials have opened up.

“It might be 10 years later, something might be found. It could be a piece of clothing, it could be a shoe, it could be something that could that could bring some clues or bring some sort of resolution,” he said.

Paulides has investigated cases closer to home, including the 1966 disappearance of 6-year-old Larry Jeffrey of Henderson, who vanished while with his family on Mount Charleston. And the 1977 case of a missing woman near Tonopah. Some have tried to link the mystery to the Area 51 military base, but that facility is far to the east of the triangle’s boundaries.

While speaking to a national conference of search and rescue experts, Paulides was addressed by a pair of state troopers.

“And they said, ‘Dave, you’re talking about things that nobody in this room wants to talk about.’ Everybody knows it’s going on. Everybody here faces it, but nobody wants to talk about it.”

See George Knapp’s extended interview with David Paulides on

David Paulides

The Interview

  1. Strange disappearances in national parks and forests: the ‘Missing 411’ phenomena
  2. Kidnapped children report strange encounters, found in ‘impossible’ locations
  3. Is someone using ‘chameleo’ technology to abduct victims?
  4. It feels like a harvest’ … what Native Americans know
  5. A government coverup? Where are the records on missing people?
  6. Aviator Steve Fossett, the Nevada Triangle, the public’s right to know
  7. A Nevada disappearance … what experts say about ‘Missing 411’ thesis