Amelia Earhart’s Plane Wreckage May Be Visible in Newly-Released Images

Some believe that the images depict a wing of Earhart’s two-engine Lockheed Electra from her doomed 1937 flight.

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TIGHAR

A sonar image released by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery on May 28, 2013 displays what could be the remains of aviator Amelia Earhart's two-engine Lockheed Electra plane.

Grainy sonar images depicting a narrow, 22-ft. long object found some 600 feet below sea level in the Pacific Ocean may show the remains of the Lockheed Electra plane flown by Amelia Earhart. The world-famous aviator and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared on July 2, 1937, somewhere near Nikumaroro Island in the western Pacific Ocean. Five years after successfully crossing the Atlantic on a solo flight at age 34, the airwoman was attempting to circumnavigate the globe along the equator.

First reported by Discovery News on Wednesday, the images were released by the organization best known for hunting down the truth behind Amelia Earhart’s last flight, The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR). Although the images were taken on June 15, 2012 in the waters off Nikumaroro Island (then known as Gardner Island), it was not until the group posted them to an online forum in March that someone noticed what could be the remains of the two-engine plane, according to ABC News. TIGHAR cannot definitively confirm that the wreckage is part of Earhart’s plane, although its shape and location suggest that it may well be.

Reviews of underwater footage captured last year “revealed a scattering of man-made objects on the reef slope off the west end of Nikumaroro” lying near the island, Richard Gillespie, the executive director of TIGHAR, told Discovery News. “What initially got our attention is that there is no other sonar return like it in the entire body of data collected.” He added, “it is truly an anomaly, and when you’re looking for man-made objects against a natural background, anomalies are good.” On the same trip, the search team found remnants of a possible anti-freckle cream jar popular in the early 20th century on the remote island. Earhart was known for disliking freckles.

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“She landed the plane safely on a reef off Nikumaroro Island,” Gillespie told ABC News. “The wreckage washed into the ocean with the high tide and broke up in the surf. There is archaeological evidence on that island that we believe indicates that Earhart was marooned there until her death several days later.”

Earhart became the first woman to pilot a solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean on May 20, 1932. The trip from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland to Culmore, Northern Ireland took 14 hours and 56 minutes.

MORE: Amelia Earhart: 75 Years of Mystery and Now a Discovery?

16 comments
godotishere199
godotishere199

Looks like the "we found Earhart" gang is running short  of donations and it is time to rehype. 

WillJamison
WillJamison like.author.displayName 1 Like

We better hurry. They went down a long time ago and they are running out of time.

JWalk
JWalk

I just don't see Amelia's plane in that pic.  This is like seeing the Virgin Mary on a piece of toast.  It could be the Virgin Mary, or some lady from New Jersey, or maybe it's just burnt toast.

JessicaRenshaw
JessicaRenshaw

Independent eyewitness accounts of three U.S. Marines (all on YouTube) described the destruction of Amelia Earhart's plane, clearly marked NR16020, on Saipan in 1944 by U.S. Marines, at the command of a high-ranking intelligence officer. This fact is supported by testimony from at least one U.S. General and generations of local Saipanese, to whom Earhart and Noonan's presence and deaths on the island was common knowledge. Read thorough documentation in Mike Campbell's Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last.

"Earhart’s Lockheed Electra was seen by several people after Aslito Airfield, Saipan, was captured by American forces in the summer of 1944. Three Marines watched secretly as other Marines doused the plane with gasoline, and an American fighter plane flew overhead to ignite it with machine gun fire. In the White House, a young messenger, or page, allegedly heard the order to destroy the plane come from the lips of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He reported this life-altering experience to a Saipan veteran many decades later." 

I've blogged some of these facts on my blog hiddeninjesus-dot-wordpress-dot-com. One post, "Amelia Earhart--What mystery? She died on Saipan" shares links to firsthand accounts. One Saipan resident watched Earhart shot by Japanese guards. Another saw navigator Noonan beheaded by samurai sword.



DouglasWestfall
DouglasWestfall

@JessicaRenshaw 

Earhart's aircraft #1055 is in Siberia, the plane she flew from Miami (#1065) was picked up west of Howland -- and not by the US Navy. If that airplane made it to Saipan -- which is possible -- it got there on the back of a Japanese Freighter.

emeraldseatown
emeraldseatown like.author.displayName 1 Like

@JessicaRenshaw Saipan is North from Lae, New Guinea, and both Howland Island and Nikumaroro Island are East.  You are suggesting that Earhart flew almost 2000 miles in a completely incorrect direction, landed on Saipan, and was imprisoned for years, while the Japanese never got around to destroying or even repainting an aircraft in seven years.  I call BS.

DouglasWestfall
DouglasWestfall

@emeraldseatown @JessicaRenshaw 

Amelia's Lockheed Electra was within 75 miles of her target Howland Island when her radio cut out. 

US CGC Itasca Chief Radioman Leo Bellarts 30, was on watch that morning and said: "In the early morning, signals came in pretty good. I actually did go outside and stand right out the radio shack and thought I would hear a motor any second. Her voice was loud and clear; sounded frantic on her last transmission. Then it cut off." 

She had been flying into a 30+ knot headwind so instead of flying at 150 she was flying at 120 -- and effectively flew over 3000 miles, never reaching Howland. She burned up her gas. 

Amelia Earhart was not a spy -- she was a decoy.

DouglasWestfall
DouglasWestfall

"No pilot in their right mind is going to fly 90° off their flight path, for 350 miles, to look for an island they don't have charts for, when they can't find the island they do have charts for, on no gas." -- Douglas Westfall


emeraldseatown
emeraldseatown

@DouglasWestfall Unless they are incredibly lost.  Maybe their GPS ran out of batteries, or their LORAN antenna broke,...or maybe they were flying back when the only effective navigation method was following train tracks.

DouglasWestfall
DouglasWestfall

@emeraldseatown @DouglasWestfall 

Funny, interestingly a LORAN station with 25 Coast Guard men lived in the infamous Nikumoro (Gardner) island until the end of the war. Of course they don't drop anything -- and they always clean up when they leave...

bdpmedia
bdpmedia

I think you mean Earhart was known TO dislike freckles. She was known FOR aviation talent.

Whatanotion
Whatanotion like.author.displayName 1 Like

What an amazing find.  This would be a virtually impossible accident today.  her ePrib or cell phone or GPS  would have made finding her virtually guaranteed.  Cheers to you Emelia:  Though I'm a man, as a boy  I took great inspiration from your tenacity and enthusiasm. 

SactoMan81
SactoMan81 like.author.displayName 1 Like

If they can confirm that is Earhart's plane, the next step is to see if they can find Earhart's remains on the island....

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff like.author.displayName 1 Like

@SactoMan81They probably already have.  Bone fragments thought to be that of a human, possibly a finger, were recovered on the island several years ago.  None of them could be definitively linked to Earhart.  The DNA in them had degraded.  There was no way to date them, and the island had been used for various purposes before and since Earhart's disappearance.  Several artifacts from the period were also recovered.  All of these discoveries are why the island became the center of the search for confirming her whereabouts.

The island has no fresh water source.  If they landed there, they probably died of thirst.