The Search for Amelia Earhart?

At 8:43am on July 2, 1937, Amelia Earhart vanished somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. Nearly 75 years later, her disappearance, along with that of her navigator Fred Noonan, remains one of the most spectacular unsolved mysteries of history.

Background on Amelia Earhart

We first looked at this mystery back in July 2011. To sum up, Amelia was a famed aviatrix and the first woman to fly a solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean. She vanished in 1937, along with her navigator Fred Noonan and her Lockheed Electra plane while attempting a circumnavigational flight around the Earth.

For more than two decades, the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) has searched for Amelia, focusing its efforts on tiny Gardner Island. They’ve uncovered an amazing amount of circumstantial evidence in the process. Two days ago, TIGHAR announced its latest expedition, which it hopes will finally answer this enduring mystery.

“So, unless you’ve been on a boat in the middle of the Pacific, you know what our news is. Niku 7 departs July 2, 2012, to do the deep water search we’ve wanted to do for many years. We are so grateful to the wonderful people at the U.S. State department for giving us the platform from which to make the announcement. We’ll have a lot more up on the website in the next day or two. Stay tuned!” – TIGHAR Update, March 20, 2012

Here’s TIGHAR’s general theory of what happened to Amelia, Fred, and the Electra:

  • Having failed to find Howland Island, Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan continued on the navigational line Amelia said they were following.
  • That line led them to uninhabited Gardner Island where Amelia landed the Electra safely on the island’s fringing reef.
  • For the next several nights they used the aircraft’s radio to send distress calls.
  • Radio bearings taken on the signals crossed in the vicinity of Gardner Island.
  • One week after the flight disappeared, three U.S. Navy search planes flew over Gardner Island. By then, the distress calls had stopped. Rising tides and surf had swept the Electra over the reef edge.
  • The Navy fliers saw no airplane but they did see “signs of recent habitation.” They thought that all the islands in the area were inhabited so they moved on. In fact, no one had lived on Gardner since 1892.
  • Earhart and Noonan lived for a time as castaways on the waterless atoll, relying on rain squalls for drinking water. They caught and cooked small fish, seabirds, turtles and clams. Amelia died at a makeshift campsite on the island’s southeast end. Noonan’s fate is unknown.
  • Whatever remains of the Electra lies in deep water off the island’s west end.

For a more detailed explanation as well as supporting evidence, check this out.


Guerrilla Explorer’s Coverage of Amelia Earhart

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