The disappearance of Amelia Earhart 75 years ago remains one of the great unsolved mysteries of American aviation.
On July 2, 1937, Earhart, her navigator Fred Noonan and her Lockheed Electra all disappeared on a trans-Pacific flight. Pilot, navigator and plane have all remained missing since.
However, investigators think they may have uncovered evidence of where Earhart met her premature death. A new enhanced analysis of a photo (below) taken on the Pacific atoll of Nikumaroro seems to show part of her plane’s landing gear floating near a reef. The picture was snapped three months after Earhart and Noonan disappeared.
Ric Gillespie is executive director of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), and he revealed details of the new analysis at a press conference in Washington on Tuesday. Gillespie told reporters:
“We found some really fascinating and compelling evidence. Finding the airplane would be the thing that would make it conclusive.”
The photo is not new to Earhart investigators, but this fresh analysis from 2010 has aroused new suspicions that it could be part of Earhart’s plane in the October 1937 photo. Gillespie said he was convinced, boldly stating:
“This is where the airplane went into the drink.”
Such is Gillespie’s confidence, he’ll be leading a privately funded investigation aboard a University of Hawaii research vessel to try and locate the wreckage of Earhart’s plane. Gillespie and volunteers will be searching deep waters off a flat reef on Nikumaroro. The Discovery Channel will join the group to film the exploration for TV.
Here’s the photo that’s triggered the new speculation: