Researchers Believe They Have Found Amelia Earhart’s Plane

Amelia Earhart's plane may have been found in the South Pacific
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A team of researchers who visited a remote island in the South Pacific last summer believe that they may have discovered the final resting place of Amelia Earhart’s plane. The team, which is part of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), say that one of their sonar readings taken during a visit to Nikumaroro, an island that is part of the Republic of Kiribati, reveals an object that is roughly the same size and shape of Earhart’s Lockheed Electra aircraft. The object is resting on a coral reef approximately 600 feet beneath the surface of the ocean.

The mystery of what happened to Earhart and her copilot Fred Noonan has been a matter of speculation since they went missing on July 2, 1937. The two aviators were attempting to circumnavigate the globe around the Equator when they apparently ran out of fuel and went down somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. They were en route to Howland Island at the time and radio broadcasts from Earhart seemed to indicate that she was lost and unable to find their destination, which was to have provided fuel to help complete their Pacific crossing.

Last year, TIGHAR sent a search team to Nikumaroro with the hopes of finding some clues as to what had become of Earhart and Noonan. Artifacts found on that island indicated that they may have crashed there and survived for some time as castaways. The team believed that Earhart had set her plane down on a coral reef and that they would find it submerged in a lagoon not far off shore. Their efforts to find the aircraft were hampered by rough seas, bad weather and rugged terrain, however, and the expedition actually ended early with the team thinking they had come up empty.But after returning home and analyzing the data from sonar readings obtained by remotely piloted underwater vehicles, they now believe they may have come across an important clue. From all of the readings that they gathered, only one shows anything of promise. Data from that reading indicates that there is a debris field that would be consistent with parts from an aircraft that extended for 130 feet across the reef. That debris ends at an object approximately 22 feet in length that is in the correct location for where the researchers expected the plane to be found. They say that it is “definitely not a rock,” indicating that whatever is down there is not of natural origins.

Whether or not the object they have found on radar is actually the missing Lockheed Electra remains a mystery. The TIGHAR team says they would like to go back out to search the area to determine just what it is that they’ve found. The expedition may have to wait, however, as it is estimated that it will cost $3 million to fund the search. For now, we’ll all just have to continue to speculate.

Search For Amelia Earhart Turns Up Few Clues

Amelia Earhart boards her planeA much vaunted and highly publicized search for the remains of Amelia Earhart has apparently turned up little in the way of new evidence to help solve the puzzle of the famous aviator’s ultimate fate. A team of researchers, armed with an array of high-tech gear, spent the past week searching a remote island in the South Pacific, but appear to have come up short in their quest to solve one of the most enduring mysteries of the 20th century.

We first told you about the expedition, which was spurred on by intriguing new evidence, at the beginning of the month. At that time the research team was just setting out for Nikumaroro, the tiny island that some believe may have been the final resting place for Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan. The duo went missing back in 1937 while attempting to fly around the world, leaving many to ponder their fate for the next 75 years.

This most recent search for their whereabouts cost $2.2 million and employed the use of high-definition underwater cameras and sensitive sonar in an attempt to locate Earhart’s Lockheed Electra aircraft. According to Reuters, those efforts were stymied by equipment failures and steep, rocky terrain just off the coast of Nikumaroro. The coral reefs that surround the atoll feature craggy outcroppings and severe drops, with depths ranging from 110 to 250 feet. Those natural obstructions slowed down the search process and ultimately led the search team to cut short the expedition and return to Hawaii.

The researchers say that the expedition wasn’t for nothing, however, and that they are returning home with hours of video and sonar data to pore over. While they weren’t able to identify the wreckage from what they’ve seen so far, they hope that when they get the opportunity to analyze it later they’ll be able to find some hidden clues. They’ll have to search quickly, however, as a television show about the expedition is set to air on the Discovery Channel on August 19.

Search For Amelia Earhart Begins In South Pacific

The search for Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan is onIn the beginning of June we told you about new research that seemed to indicate that famous aviator Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan not only survived a crash in the South Pacific back in 1937, but also made numerous attempts to radio for help. Armed with those findings a search team launched an expedition earlier this week with the aim of exploring the tiny atoll that they believe was the final resting place for the duo.

Earhart and Noonan went missing on July 2, 1937, while attempting to circumnavigate the planet by airplane. When they last made radio contact they were searching for Howland Island where they were planning on refueling for their flight across the Pacific. They never arrived at Howland and what exactly became of them remains a mystery to this day.

Historians and scientists have theorized that Earhart’s Lockheed Electra actually went down on a tiny atoll known as Nikumaroro, where she and Noonan proceeded to send radio messages for several days before the ocean claimed their aircraft. It is that small island, which is part of the nation of Kiribati, that this most recent search party is now en route.

When they arrive the team will use a robotic submersible to search for the missing airplane in the waters just off Nikumaroro and they’ll comb the island itself for more clues to Earhart and Noonan’s ultimate fate. A recent excursion to the atoll discovered an old jar of freckle cream that was consistent with the brand that Earhart used and researchers are hoping to discover similar clues this time out. They feel that if they find definitive evidence that the island was Earhart and Noonan’s last resting place it can help solve one of the most enduring mysteries of the 20th century.

The expedition is expected to last approximately 26 days, with ten of those days dedicated to the search itself. The team departed from Honolulu on Tuesday and should arrive on site some time next week. After that, we’ll all have to wait to see if they discover anything of interest.

New Clues Revealed In Disappearance Of Amelia Earhart

Most of us grew up learning that famous early aviation icon Amelia Earhart simply up and vanished on her quest to fly around the world in 1937. Departing from Papua New Guinea after an enjoyable stay, Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan set a course for remote Howland Island in the Central Pacific, never to be seen or heard from again.

Or so the story goes.

Now, nearly 75 years after her disappearance, Discovery reports that teams of researchers are concluding that’s simply not the case.

At a recent three-day conference held by TIGHAR (The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery), researchers announced the existence of 57 credible radio signals originating from Earhart’s downed aircraft in the hours and days directly following her disappearance.

Amateur radio operators from Melbourne, Australia, to Honolulu, Hawaii, are reported to have picked up faint transmissions containing the call sign of Earhart’s Electra aircraft, KHAQQ, and various military ships in the region also reported garbled transmissions believed to be those of a crash-landed Amelia Earhart.So here’s the new story:

Amelia Earhart didn’t just overshoot Howland Island, run out of gas and crash into the sea. She overshot Howland Island, nearly ran out of gas, but managed to land her aircraft on a remote atoll known today as Nikumaroro. With her aircraft still functioning properly she was able to initiate radio transmissions from inside the aircraft only when the sea water level was low enough to not reach the transmitter.

As it just so happens, recent research into the tidal swings of Nikumaroro atoll for the exact week of her disappearance show that the transmissions sent by Earhart coincide with the times at which the water level would have been low enough to operate the engine and the transmitter.

Eventually, however, the Electra aircraft would lose its battle with the sea, and so, too, would Earhart and Noonan lose their ability to communicate with the outside world.

While expeditions to Nikumaroro have been conducted in the past, the closest piece of evidence found is a jar of anti-freckle cream believed to have belonged to the long lost aviator.

[Photo credit: miss_rogue on Flickr]