Amelia Earhart plane wreck discovered?

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Photo: Is this the wreck of Amelia Earhart’s plane? Photo: TIGHAR

The hunt for the wreck of Amelia Earhart’s missing Lockheed Elecktra may well be over – that’s according to some new evidence uncovered by the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR).

There is a sonar image in the data it collected during last summer’s Niku VII expedition that could be the wreckage of Amelia Earhart’s plane. “It looks unlike anything else in the sonar data, it’s the right size, it’s the right shape, and it’s in the right place”, TIGHAR says.

But the anomaly wasn’t spotted during post analysis until one member of TIGHAR’s on-line Amelia Earhart Search Forum, spotted the strange shape in a sonar map that was included in the group’s Niku VII report.

TIGHAR says: “The harder we’ve looked at this anomaly, the better it looks. Maybe it’s pure coincidence that it‘s the right size and shape to be the Electra wreckage – the Electra that so much other evidence suggests should be in that location.”

The simple fact of the matter is no one will know if it’s the Earhart aircraft wreck until TIGHAR settles the debts from the last trip and raise the money for the next one.

The group thinks that the Earhart aircraft, after landing on the reef at Gardner Island (now Nikumaroro), was subsequently washed over the reef edge. During last year’s expedition, an Underwater Vehicle (AUV) acquired side-scan sonar data along roughly 1.3 nautical miles of shoreline off the west end of Nikumaroro. The reef slope was surveyed from depths of about 100 meters (328 feet) down to 1200 meters (3,937 feet).

The group now is now planning planning a complete review of all the sonar data by independent experts in case anything else has been missed – but it needs donations to pay for the cost.

Last year TIGHAR was given the exclusive right to conduct research, search, and recover any evidence relating to the Earhart mystery by the Republic of Kiribati.

Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean— her plane disappeared in the mid-Pacific in July 1937, when she and navigator Fred Noonan were attempting to fly around the world.

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