TIGHAR Nears Nikumaroro, Amelia Earhart Within Reach
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
The search for Amelia Earhart´s wrecked Lockheed Electra aircraft in the Pacific waters around the island of Nikumaroro will begin in a matter of days, once the crew aboard the Ka´imikai-O-Kanaloa (KOK) research vessel arrive on site.
As the TIGHAR/Niku VII Earhart Project closes in on the uninhabited island in the Phoenix Group, the Republic of Kiribati, crew members are left to play the waiting game, as all checks have been completed, all tests have been performed, and the plans are set.
The KOK passed the Equator at 1:49 p.m. (shipboard time) on 10 July 2012 heading for Nikumaroro, according to a spokesperson aboard the vessel. Ship crew are constantly on the lookout for signs of life, mainly in the form of birds, which indicate the presence of land, typically within 200 miles or so.
The ship may pass close enough to McKean Island for a spectacular viewing of countless marine birds (by last count by Smithsonian 20 years ago more than a million birds inhabit the remote island).
The crew is expecting to arrive in the vicinity of Nikumaroro sometime Thursday morning July 12, 2012, when the hunt will officially begin. You can follow the day-by-day updates at the TIGHAR website.
Current estimates place the vessel at less than 400 nautical miles from its destination.