Aviation historians tout discovery of what may be Amelia Earhart’s plane

‘It’s the right size, right shape … in the right place’

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) suggests it has found Amelia Earhart’s plane, which disappeared July 2, 1937.

In the summer of 2012, the non-profit organization devoted to aviation history embarked on a $2.2 million expedition to solve the mystery of the aviator’s disappearance 75 years ago.

Researchers headed to a remote island in the Pacific with hopes of finding Earhart’s Lockheed Electra. The working theory, as described at the time by the Washington Post, was that Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan landed on a reef near the Kiribati atoll where they survived for a short time.

Now, TIGHAR has released a sonar image from that island that they believe is the remains of Electra. Here’s how the group heralds its news on its website:

“It’s exciting. It’s frustrating. It’s maddening. There is a sonar image in the data collected during last summer’s Niku VII expedition that could be the wreckage of Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra. 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.”

“There is no other sonar return like it in the entire body of data collected,” Ric Gillespie, executive director of TIGHAR, told Discovery News. “It is truly an anomaly.”

Gillespie believes Earhart survived for at least five days on the atoll.

You can read all about the search here on a site dedicated to raising money for the mission.

The group allows that the image might show a coral feature or a sunken boat not mentioned in literature: “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.”

Gillespie tells Discovery Magazine that it will take some $3,000,000 “to put together an expedition that can do what needs to be done.” It’s a lot of money, he agrees. “But it’s a small price to pay for finding Amelia.”


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