New Expedition to Unlock Mystery of Earhart's Flight
The first woman to receive the U.S Distinguished Flying Cross, Amealia Earhart was the first aviatrix to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Exactly 75 years back Amelia disappeared when she departed from her final flight over the Pacific.
Now, the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) is heading on an expedition to solve the mystery based on the wreckage of her plane in Nikumaroro Island in Kiribati. The organizers believe that this expedition will conclusively solve one of the most enduring mysteries of the 20th century whether Earhart survived the apparent crash of her aircraft.
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The expedition will be based on the state-of-the-art technology, including multi-beam sonar to map the ocean floor and a remote-controlled device all of which will be sent through a cargo ship. A similar kind of device was used in 2009, to fetch the black boxes from the Rio-to-Paris Air France flight that crashed into the South Atlantic.
The crew will depart from the Hawaii for a 10-day mission on both an island and an underwater reef slope. The most common theory proposed till date is that is that the aviation pioneer ran out of fuel somewhere over the Pacific Ocean because of a navigation error. But Ric Gillespie, executive director of the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), has a new concept to put forth.
He says, ""the navigation line Amelia described in her final in-flight radio transmission passed through not only Howland Island, her intended destination, but also Gardner Island, now called Nikumaroro. They may have made an emergency landing on the island's flay coral reef. This was the theory the Navy came up with in the first days following the flight's disappearance. And they did search the atoll, but only from the air. She did not go down at sea. She was on land, and we think we know what land she was on, and where to search in the water for what's left of the plane."
The search team members say that this is a hi-tech deep water search they were waiting to plunge into. But they could not afford it.
Earhart, 39, was flying with navigator Fred Noonan that turned out to be her last adventure for the round-the-world flight along the equator at the time that her plane disappeared. The holder of several records including the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean by air, left from New Guinea to refuel at Howland Island so that she could make it up to California that was a long distance. In what turned out to be her final radio message, she declared she was unable to find Howland and that fuel was running low.
After this several search mission turned out into a disappointment with no trace of Earhanr or her flight. Rumours spread that she was held as a captive by Japanese imperial forces as a spy. Another claimed she completed her flight, but changed her identity and settled in New Jersey.
Gillespie concluded saying, "that if debris is found, it will not be gathered, but will be photographed and its location carefully documented for a future expedition. The search team is being accompanied by a three-person camera crew who will film the expedition for a planned television special later this year."