Amelia Earhart found?

posted at 8:01 pm on June 2, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

A bit of a Saturday night palate cleanser, and a story which I believe many people will find interesting. (I know I did.) There are plenty of mysteries which we simply may never know the answer to. Did Bruno Hauptmann really kidnap the Lindbergh baby? What really happened at Roswell in 1947? Who talked John Travolta into making Battlefield Earth? Perhaps those secrets will never be revealed, but there’s one long standing case which may finally be coming to a close. What happened to Amelia Earhart? (Hat Tip to OTB)

For decades, pioneer aviator Amelia Earhart was said to have “disappeared” over the Pacific on her quest to circle the globe along a 29,000-mile equatorial route.

Now, new information gives a clearer picture of what happened 75 years ago to Ms. Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan, where they came down and how they likely survived – for a while, at least – as castaways on a remote island, catching rainwater and eating fish, shellfish, and turtles to survive.

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), a non-profit foundation promoting aviation archaeology and historic aircraft preservation, reported new details Friday leading researchers to this conclusion: Earhart and Noonan, low on fuel and unable to find their next scheduled stopping point – Howland Island – radioed their position, then landed on a reef at uninhabited Gardner Island, a small coral atoll now known as Nikumaroro Island.

Using what fuel remained to turn up the engines to recharge the batteries, they continued to radio distress signals for several days until Earhart’s twin-engine Lockheed Electra aircraft was swept off the reef by rising tides and surf. Using equipment not available in 1937 – digitized information management systems, antenna modeling software, and radio wave propagation analysis programs, TIGHAR concluded that 57 of the 120 signals reported at the time are credible, triangulating Earhart’s position to have been Nikumaroro Island.

I’m not going to pretend that I was even aware of the existence of any International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, but I’m glad they’re on the job. The report goes on to say that in addition to the radio data from the broadcasts mentioned above, they are taking a second look at artifacts found on the then deserted island. They include broken glass, fish and bird bones collected in, or associated with, ash and charcoal deposits, and a “photo taken three months after Earhart’s flight shows what could be the landing gear of her aircraft in the waters off the atoll.”

Of course, all of this could only mean that somebody was stranded there, but it looks promising. They’re heading out there this year to search for wreckage of the plane around the reef. Would it still be there more than half a century later? The wave action and shifting sands, ocean storms, etc. could make that a dicey proposition. If they do manage to find a piece of an aircraft buried in the reef which matches the model flown by Earhart, this is one mystery which may finally be solved. But other questions will still remain. Were they injured, and if so, how badly? How long did they survive? (With enough skills you should be able to live off the bounty of the ocean and the reef for quite some time.)

I took a look at the Google satellite images for the island. Seems like people could survive there for a while with a bit of luck and resourcefulness. (Other people took to living there later on.) So what eventually did them in and where are the remains? Did they attempt an escape on a makeshift raft like Tom Hanks in Castaway after no rescue arrived for a month or two? It’s a great mystery and I’m sure that Discovery Channel or some such outlet will be doing a documentary on it for us when the search gets underway.

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Comment pages: 1 2

Fox is putting Geraldo on this story ASAP.

HellCat on June 3, 2012 at 2:46 AM

Better late than never, I suppose.

squint on June 3, 2012 at 3:28 AM

Good to see that TIGHAR is still out there peddling the same snake oil they’ve been foisting on credulous reporters and duped supporters for the past 20 years. They are considered a massive joke within the aviation community, after years of foisting “dubious” artifacts and theories which your average schoolkid could tell are bogus with just 5 minutes of research on the internet. Every year (like clockwork), they put out a slightly rewritten version of this same press release announcing that they are (yet again) on the verge of a great breakthrough, and need just a little more “funding” to see it through to fruition. And sadly, there are suckers born every minute that keep buying into it.

JFS61 on June 3, 2012 at 4:08 AM

least it was an article not about obamas ineptness


losarkos on June 3, 2012 at 5:07 AM

JFS61 on June 3, 2012 at 4:08 AM

Will you source this for us, please?

DrMagnolias on June 3, 2012 at 6:49 AM

I’m not going to pretend that I was even aware of the existence of any International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery,

Aw come on. It’s, uh famous. Me and my wife, uh, Morgan Fairchild invented it.

Squiggy on June 3, 2012 at 6:50 AM

It is established fact that George W. Bush with the help of Karl Rove Shot the plane down. The revisonists are still trying to discredit this story.

chicken thief on June 3, 2012 at 7:19 AM

Back in the ’80s I met a guy who was helping on a rescue salvage of a P-38 in AK. The crew had landed in winter on the nice, flat ice surface of a lake and no one was able to get into the back country in time enough to beat spring. It was found at the bottom of a lake and in great condition as it is fresh water and it stays at just above freezing year ’round at the bottom of it.

I read about a couple of B-17’s used for anti-sub duty that had to ditch in Greenland that were rescued as they melted out of a glacier…

Aluminum tends to resist oxidation better than anything except gold which is why if a plane comes down in a really nasty place the aircraft has a fighting chance of surviving a bit longer than would otherwise be possible. Ditched aircraft turned up in the damnedest places…. sadly the crews usually didn’t make it back to tell where they had bailed out, if they could bail out at all.

ajacksonian on June 3, 2012 at 7:26 AM

I read about a couple of B-17′s used for anti-sub duty that had to ditch in Greenland that were rescued as they melted out of a glacier… ajacksonian on June 3, 2012 at 7:26 AM

Actually, they were hot water blasted out of the glacier, 268 feet below the present surface.

Great read:

The two men found that in the forty-six years since the planes had crash-landed, an astonishing 268 feet of ice had accumulated over them, and they had been carried three miles by the drifting glacier.

BigAlSouth on June 3, 2012 at 7:38 AM

We know what happened at Roswell in ’47 a Project Mogul(using balloons with atomic measuring equipment to spy on commie nuke tests) balloon crashed. Then in 1980 or so Jesse Marcelle needed cash and spun a fantastical story to the National Enquirer which in turn gave the flaccid members the low IQ barely functional UFO weirdos a semi chub which thank Buddah is all those fatties can get.

Your Mamma loves me on June 3, 2012 at 10:25 AM

BigAlSouth on June 3, 2012 at 7:38 AM


My thanks! Definitely worth reading and brushing up on the memories…

ajacksonian on June 3, 2012 at 11:17 AM

I’ve heard that Fred Noonan was part Fakawi.
backwoods conservative on June 2, 2012 at 9:58 PM

Indeed he was born in the Fakawi region, but apparently never knew exactly where, because he was often heard muttering about where in the Fakawi.

drunyan8315 on June 3, 2012 at 11:19 AM

Will James Cameron make a movie about searching for the plane’s wreckage? Or will it be a tale about the evils of technology and living off the bounty of the land in harmony with nature?

digitalhap on June 3, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Will you source this for us, please?

DrMagnolias on June 3, 2012 at 6:49 AM

The last link is a good summation of the facts surrounding TIGHAR and its claims, although it is marred by their heavy-handed shilling for their own spurious “historical novel” about Earhart.

JFS61 on June 3, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Ho-lee crap, that is WAY out in the middle of nowhere…

Purple Fury on June 3, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Heck, she’s been voting democrat for the last few elections now, along with Jack Benny, and FDR, though no actually saw them at the polls.

Don L on June 3, 2012 at 3:31 PM

Hasn’t anybody seen The ’37s?

platypus on June 3, 2012 at 5:48 PM

The Travolta question is actually the easy one to answer in the bunch. He’s a scientologist, Battlefield Earth is effectively a sci-fi manifesto of scientology (less than the equivalence between Narnia and Chrisianity, but more than the equivalence between Battlestar Galactica and Mormonism). So of course he’ll do the job if the people at Mindhead call him up.

The Schaef on June 3, 2012 at 11:06 PM

Fox is putting Geraldo on this story ASAP.

HellCat on June 3, 2012 at 2:46 AM


insidiator on June 4, 2012 at 7:48 AM

In the ’90s, following the loss of an F-14D fighter off of San Clemente Island, the Navy employed a newly upgraded side-scanning sonar system to find and recover the wreckage. San Clemente has been used by the Navy for carrier landing training since the late 1930s, being a small, isolated island off the coast of San Diego. While hunting for the downed Tomcat, the sonar returned images of no less than 17 other aircraft, all or most of which presumably suffered similar fates, either mechanical malfunction or flight error resulting in crash, bailout, or ditch while performing carrier approach training.

Among the identifiable images were F4-U Corsairs, SNJs, P-51s, T4s, an A-4 Skyhawk and an F-4S Phantom.

All this to say that some of those wrecks were at least 50 years old at the time, and likely hadn’t move more than a few feet to find a settling place in all that time. So depending upon the extent of damage to Earhart’s aircraft upon landing, there should be a good chance of finding identifiable evidence of the plane.

Freelancer on June 4, 2012 at 11:37 AM

Comment pages: 1 2