Sunday, 9 June 2013

Wreckage of Amelia Earhart plane may be found

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Pacific sonar 'streak' may be wreck of Amelia Earhart's plane

Many online news sources both here and in America were abuzz a little over a week ago with the latest possibility in the ongoing search for wreckage or other evidence of pioneer aviatrix Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Electra, which vanished seemingly without a trace during her (and navigator Fred Noonan's) attempted around-the-world flight on the 2nd July 1937.

Amelia Earhart's remarkable achievements and the rightful fame they earned her have meant that her name continues to resonate throughout history and her mysterious disappearance somewhere between Australia and the Hawaiian islands 76 years ago has ensured that she - and her ultimate fate - is still discussed to this day.

What happened to Earhart, Noonan and their aircraft on that day in 1937 has been the subject of innumerable theories - conspiratorial or otherwise - over the years.  The prevailing theory is that they missed their refuelling stop of Howland Island - a mere speck in the Pacific Ocean less than one square mile in size, ran out of fuel and crashed either into the sea or on one of the eight atolls and coral reefs that make up the nearby Phoenix Islands group.

Unexplained shadow 600ft under Pacific could be Amelia Earhart’s missing plane

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If they ditched in the open sea it is very likely that anything in the way of mechanical or human remains will ever be found, particularly as in some areas - even close to the islands - the water reaches a depth of 23,000ft.  However since around 2007 one group of aviation researchers, The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, have been actively investigating the theory that Earhart and Noonan made it to (or close to) Nikumaroro (also known as Gardner Island) where they may even have survived for several weeks before perishing.

In those six years TIGHAR have made several fascinating but ultimately inconclusive discoveries on or around Nikumararo, including tools and metalwork that may have come from the Electra, clothing and products associated with Amelia Earhart (for example a 1930s shoe similar to ones seen in photos of her and period face cream for pale, freckled complexions) and possible human bones.

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Now sonar scans of the waters surrounding the island have thrown up an unidentified mass a few hundred feet down, which does not appear to conform to any known wreck or coral formation.  Could this be part of the Lockheed Electra, which Earhart managed to land on or near the reef?  That is the question that this latest discovery poses and which TIGHAR hopes to answer in the coming weeks.  I for one will be very keen to hear what they find.  In the meantime, as this investigation and the interest surrounding it proves, the story of Amelia Earhart and her untimely disappearance continues to intrigue and beguile nearly eight decades on.

6 comments:

  1. Quite sad, but a little exciting - I've always been caught between the theory Amelia became a spy and the more obvious crash senario. Keep the news stories coming Bruce, I'm fed up with the usual doom on the BBC news!

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    1. Yes indeed; I used to think the theory that she landed on Japanese-occupied Saipan and was executed as a spy had some possibilities, but I think now a crash at sea is almost a given.

      Hehe, that's why I started this blog originally; always glad to offer an alternative! Hope you're keeping well, Jennie.

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  2. I hope the searchers can find the wreckage of the plane and shed some light on what happened. She was an exceptional pilot. Too bad she did not succeed on this mission.

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  3. I read about this too. I really hope there is some closure found via definite location and identification of Earhart's plane wreckage!!

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  4. It will be interesting to see what they find.

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  5. Oh wow! My brain is spinning with possible outcomes. I can't wait to see what they find!

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