ANOTHER STEP CLOSER TO FINDING AMELIA EARHART?

As you may be aware, there has been speculation about what happened to Amelia Earhart who was lost over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to circumnavigate the world in 1937. She was an experienced flier and adept at getting favorable publicity. Her loss as well as that of her co-pilot, garnered world-wide sorrow.
If you were to visit the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum bookstore, you would find about 50 different titles dealing with Earhart’s life, disappearance, and the search for her remains.
In earlier blogs I have described the efforts of THIGAR (The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery) to locate Amelia’s plane at the remote atoll of Nikumaroro in the Pacific Ocean. Two years ago, based on finding an old photograph of the coastline, what appeared to be a landing gear protruding from the surface of the Ocean, prompted the United States State Department to finance a TIGHAR expedition to conduct a photographic survey of the ocean floor off the coast of Nikumaroro. At first, some of the photographs seemed to show the outline of a wing and other airplane parts, but alas, they turned out to be remnants of a ship wreck.
TIGHAR then turned its attention to a small (19′ x 23′) piece of aluminum found on the beach of the island. It was found in 1991, but eliminated as a piece of the plane because the spacing of the rivet holes was not consistent with the Lockheed’s specifications for Amelia’s Electra. But in 2014, a photo of her plane after repairs showed that an aluminum piece about the same size was added to cover a window on the side of the fuselage shortly before the start of the round the world flight. TIGHAR hired an expert from the Wichita Air Services who has declared the artifact “likely” came from Amelia’s plane. I take it that the word “likely” signifies the chances are some percentage more than 50%.
Based on this information, and the fact that an underwater photo taken last year looks promising, TIGHAR is now in the process of raising additional funds from private donors to explore the area around Nikumaroro further.
On the one hand this is good news. On the other, after almost 80 years, does it really matter if she was lost there or somewhere else? It was sad that she was lost, but lost she will remain.

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