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Amelia Earhart: 75 Years of Mystery — and Now an Answer?

Posted by on Aug. 20, 2012 at 8:57 AM
  • 35 Replies
1 mom liked this

The world is once again talking about Amelia Earhart. Some 75 years after the famed aviator first disappeared, the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) has presented fresh evidence of a debris field found in the waters off Nikumaroro Island, where many believe Earhart crash-landed.

Amelia Earhart stands in front of her bi-plane called "Friendship" in Newfoundland on June 14, 1928.

Getty Images
Amelia Earhart stands in front of her bi-plane called "Friendship" in Newfoundland on June 14, 1928.

The fog of mystery surrounding what happened to Earhart has remained a point of global fascination since she first disappeared from radio contact in July of 1937.

In the decades that followed, scientists and historians have continued to dig through archives, scan underwater wreckage, and even test saliva, in the hope of finding conclusive proof of just what happened to the woman who attempted to circumnavigate the planet.

The most recent discoveries lend credence to the theory that Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, crashed off the South Pacific island of Nikumaroro, then known as Gardner Island, where they eventually died after living as castaways.

(MORE: The world’s top 10 famous disappearances)

The first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, Earhart embraced the challenge of flying around the Earth with the aid of only one navigator. On July 2, 1937, the duo was reported missing during the most difficult leg of the journey. They were heading from Lae, New Guinea, to Howland Island — a tiny, uninhabited atoll in the middle of the Pacific more than 2,000 nautical miles away.

The U.S. Coast Guard’s Itasca, commissioned to assist with the risky journey, had received messages indicating that Earhart was both lost over the ocean and running low on fuel. But communication was shaky, and the ship’s officers were unable to pinpoint the location of Earhart’s Lockheed aircraft.

(MORE: Amelia Earhart secrets — in her saliva?)

When all communications ceased, both a Coast Guard search team and Navy officers combed the surrounding area of ocean, but found no evidence of Earhart, Noonan or their plane. But of course, many were left unsatisfied with this excruciatingly vague conclusion, and a succession of search efforts soon commenced.

Three months after the disappearance, for example, scientists discovered what appeared to be remnants of the doomed aircraft in the background of a photo taken off the western shore of Nikumaroro. Forensic analysis later indicated that the photo, taken by British Colonial Service officer Eric R. Bevington, indeed captured key components of the Lockheed plane. This discovery prompted many scientists to shift their focus to Nikumaroro, located a few hundred nautical miles from Earhart’s original destination of Howland Island.

The most recent expedition, headed by TIGHAR, which has made at least eight previous trips to the region, returned once again to Nikumaroro — and the objects the team discovered appear to be the same objects that were first displayed in that grainy 1937 photo.

The latest findings follow earlier discoveries: In a previous mission, TIGHAR researchers discovered other intriguing clues near Nikumaroro, like an anti-freckle ointment container that appeared to belong to Earhart. “It is well documented that Amelia had freckles and disliked having them,” Joe Cerniglia, one of the group’s researchers, told Discovery News

Analysts have reviewed less than 30% of the data from the most recent mission, which cost $2.2 million to orchestrate.

by on Aug. 20, 2012 at 8:57 AM
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Replies (1-10):
butlerro1013
by Bronze Member on Aug. 20, 2012 at 9:28 AM

Interesting.  

collectivecow
by Gold Member on Aug. 20, 2012 at 9:32 AM
4 moms liked this

It would be nice to finally know what exactly happened to her.

ashellbell
by shellbark on Aug. 20, 2012 at 9:37 AM
I know I'm gonna sound like a dick, but who cares? It's been 75 years. We know what happened: her plane crashed and she's dead, or she wanted to disappear and she's definitely dead now. Wasting money is all this is.
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Veni.Vidi.Vici.
by on Aug. 20, 2012 at 10:05 AM
5 moms liked this


Quoting ashellbell:

I know I'm gonna sound like a dick, but who cares? It's been 75 years. We know what happened: her plane crashed and she's dead, or she wanted to disappear and she's definitely dead now. Wasting money is all this is.

IMO she's a great part of our history.

collectivecow
by Gold Member on Aug. 20, 2012 at 10:14 AM
3 moms liked this

I think it's important to know what exactly happened: Whether she died in the ocean, or like the story here suggests - got stranded on an island. It would bring a very real and different interpretation to her story.

I had a lot of respect for her growing up as a kid, but it was pretty unsettling to me not knowing what happened. Especially given the fact that my aunt is a pilot (who eventually took me flying with her).

She was an iconic and historic female figure: Why do you think it is  a waste of money?

Quoting ashellbell:
I know I'm gonna sound like a dick, but who cares? It's been 75 years. We know what happened: her plane crashed and she's dead, or she wanted to disappear and she's definitely dead now. Wasting money is all this is.


ashellbell
by shellbark on Aug. 20, 2012 at 10:18 AM
Sure she is but has it effected our lives so much that actually knowing she's dead will make it better? Just seems like a lot of money being spent on stuff we already know. It won't benefit or change anything for us. I know it makes me sound insensitive but it's how I feel.


Quoting Veni.Vidi.Vici.:


Quoting ashellbell:

I know I'm gonna sound like a dick, but who cares? It's been 75 years. We know what happened: her plane crashed and she's dead, or she wanted to disappear and she's definitely dead now. Wasting money is all this is.

IMO she's a great part of our history.


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ashellbell
by shellbark on Aug. 20, 2012 at 10:19 AM
What's it going to change? No one will know how she died. She either died in the crash, drowned, or starved to death on an island. That knowledge doesn't cost a thing.


Quoting collectivecow:

I think it's important to know what exactly happened: Whether she died in the ocean, or like the story here suggests - got stranded on an island. It would bring a very real and different interpretation to her story.

I had a lot of respect for her growing up as a kid, but it was pretty unsettling to me not knowing what happened. Especially given the fact that my aunt is a pilot (who eventually took me flying with her).

She was an iconic and historic female figure: Why do you think it is  a waste of money?

Quoting ashellbell:
I know I'm gonna sound like a dick, but who cares? It's been 75 years. We know what happened: her plane crashed and she's dead, or she wanted to disappear and she's definitely dead now. Wasting money is all this is.



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krysstizzle
by DeepThought on Aug. 20, 2012 at 10:23 AM
1 mom liked this
I find it incredibly fascinating. I've always had a burning desire to just know what actually happened, it would be great to know more.

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collectivecow
by Gold Member on Aug. 20, 2012 at 10:31 AM

It would take the question and provide an answer. If she died on the island, the story could be further explained. It could also provide insight into her last days.

Quoting ashellbell:

What's it going to change? No one will know how she died. She either died in the crash, drowned, or starved to death on an island. That knowledge doesn't cost a thing.
Quoting collectivecow:

I think it's important to know what exactly happened: Whether she died in the ocean, or like the story here suggests - got stranded on an island. It would bring a very real and different interpretation to her story.

I had a lot of respect for her growing up as a kid, but it was pretty unsettling to me not knowing what happened. Especially given the fact that my aunt is a pilot (who eventually took me flying with her).

She was an iconic and historic female figure: Why do you think it is  a waste of money?

Quoting ashellbell:
I know I'm gonna sound like a dick, but who cares? It's been 75 years. We know what happened: her plane crashed and she's dead, or she wanted to disappear and she's definitely dead now. Wasting money is all this is.


Euphoric
by Thumper kid spanks on Aug. 20, 2012 at 11:07 AM
1 mom liked this

 I agree

Quoting krysstizzle:

I find it incredibly fascinating. I've always had a burning desire to just know what actually happened, it would be great to know more.

 

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