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The Search For Amelia Earhart Resumes With Help From Hillary Clinton
by Jill Pantozzi | 11:49 am, March 20th, 2012
Seventy-five years ago, Amelia Earhart set off in a plane to circumnavigate the globe and was never heard from again. Her story lived on in infamy and continues to boggle mind to this day but the search to find her eventually ended. That is, until now. The Discovery Channel is funding the continued search for Earhart in conjunction with support from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the US State Department. We wholeheartedly approve of this measure.
As you probably know, Earhart is famous for being the first woman to fly across North America and back as well as the first woman to make a transatlantic solo flight. But it was in 1937 that Earhart took off in a Lockheed Model 10 Electra funded by Purdue University to circle the globe, only to disappear somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. It’s believed she crashed near Howland Island but neither her nor her plane were recovered.
Along with the Discovery Channel, the resumed expedition will be carried out by the The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR). TIGHAR’s executive director Ric Gillespie has other theories on the famous disappearance, namely a landing on a nearby coral reef 300 miles southeast of the intended destination.
“The navigation line Amelia described in her final in-flight radio transmission passed through not only Howland Island, her intended destination, but also Gardner Island, now called Nikumaroro,” Gillespie said. “This was the oldest Earhart theory. This was the theory the Navy came up with in the first days following the flight’s disappearance. And they did search the atoll, but only from the air.”
Gillespie and his team have taken nine archeological trips to the area and claim there is strong evidence there were castaways there that seemingly survived for weeks.
“We found archival records describing the discovering in Nikumaroro in 1940 of the partial skeleton and campsite of what appears to have been a female castaway,” he said. “We identified the place on a remote corner of the atoll that fits the description of where the bones and campsite were found. Archaeological digs there have produced artifacts that speak of an American woman of the 1930s.”
According the Discovery Channel, the new search will focus on Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan’s plane. “The underwater search will be carried by Phoenix International, the U.S. Navy’s primary deep ocean search and recovery contractor. On July 2, the 75th anniversary of Earhart’s disappearance, the TIGHAR team will sail from Honolulu aboard the University of Hawaii oceanographic research ship R/V Ka Imikai-O-Kanaloa.”
The team is relying on a photo taken on the islands shorline three months after Earhart’s disappearance. Image analysis leads them to believe an object protruding from the water is part of the Lockheed.
According to Discovery, “Secretary Clinton is meeting today with historians and scientists from The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery and plans to use the event to lend her high profile to the search.”
Speculation on what happened to Earhart and Noonan went from pure speculation, to scientific theories, onto urban legends like the Bermuda Triangle. Of course the open-ended story kept curiosity alive through the years and Earhart’s story has captivated scientists and storytellers alike. She was a celebrity in her time, becoming friends with influential people like Eleanor Roosevelt, and made achievements that would have carried her into history even if she hadn’t disappeared on her highly publicized flight.
We’re very interested to hear the findings of this new search. Could we finally get the answers countless have waited 75 years for?
(via Live Science)
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