Amelia Earhart's Electra Possibly Found Via Sonar Data
June 2, 2013

Anomaly In Sonar Image Could Be Wing From Amelia Earhart’s Plane

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

A sonar image collected off the cost of Nikumaroro Island in the Pacific Ocean contains an object that could be the wing from Amelia Earhart´s long-lost Lockheed Electra, various media outlets reported over the weekend.

Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, disappeared during a flight over the Pacific in July of 1937, and Nina Golgowski of the New York Daily News reports that evidence suggests she might have crashed in the same region where these new photos were taken.

The sonar image was published by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), a non-profit group which has been searching for the lost Earhart plane for more than two decades, according to Christian Science Monitor Correspondent Ryan Lenora Brown.

Brown said that the “blocky sonar image“¦ isn´t much to look at, just a mosaic of yellow and black pixels streaked with white,” but noted that it “could hold the key to solving one of the most enduring mysteries of modern history” — that being, exactly what happened to the aviation pioneer after she lost contact with the Coast Guard.

“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,” TIGHAR said in a statement published to their official website on May 28, 2013. “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.”

The organization originally photographed the underwater area around Nikumaroro Island last July, and later published the image online in the hopes that the general public might be able to aid their analysis, Golgowski said. In March, a member of TIGHAR´s online search forum became the first to notice the unusual object, which was resting at depths of approximately 600 feet beneath the surface of the water.

“Once you know what to look for, the anomaly is painfully obvious,” TIGHAR said of the object. On top of that, the potential wing lines up exactly to a second debris field located along the island, which they have long believed could have been a part of Earhart´s plane.

The group believes that the 38-foot, 7-inch plane would have landed safely on the island´s reef before breaking up in the surf, said Golgowski, and according to Brown, there is evidence to support those claims.

“Three years after the disappearance, for instance, a colonial administrator found a human skeleton, the scraps of some shoes, and a liquor bottle on the island. The skeleton, which has since gone missing, is thought to have been of a woman of Northern European origin, about 5 feet, 7 inches in height. (Earhart was 5-foot-8.),” the Christian Science Monitor said.

Furthermore, TIGHAR Executive Director Ric Gillespie claims that he and his colleagues have found additional evidence on the island to support that it may be near Earhart´s crash site. For example, they found an object that might have been a bottle of the pilot´s anti-freckle cream, suggesting that she might have survived impact and actually lived on Nikumaroro Island for an unspecified amount of time.

“Listen, we´re realistic: This could be coral, this could be a sunken fishing boat, but it looks promising,” Gillespie told Brown. He said that he is hoping to investigate the possible wreckage up close, but in order to do so, he is looking for supporters to pledge a total of $3 million to fund an expedition. “She´s become a legend, regardless of who she really was or what she was like. We want her found.”