Seventy-five years ago--1937--Earhart set off to become the first woman to fly solo and circumnavigate the globe. Already a huge presence in the minds of Americans, she had accomplished great navigational feats in a male- dominated industry that captured the public's imagination.
In 1937, she and Noonan flew from California to New Guinea and then began a difficult leg of the trip to Howland Island in the central Pacific. Her plan was to use the equator, but the navigational maps were not always clear and radio communication was sketchy at best. When her plane did not arrive at Howland Island, a wide ocean search began but turned up nothing. Thus began the mystery of what happened to Amelia Earhart.
The current expedition is centering on an island called Nikumaroro in the Republic of Kiribati. The searchers are attempting to locate, identify, and photograph any wreckage.
|from the TIGHAR.ORG website|
The new expedition--at a cost of $2.2M--is hoping to find wreckage of her plane that could possibly have slipped off the reef near the island. The group left Honolulu on July 3 and should arrive at Nikumaroro on July 9. They are banking on the possibility that Earhart and Noonan may have been alive for several weeks or months on what was then an uninhabited and largely uncharted island. Skeptics, however, believe the plane would have broken up from the ocean waves. Sonar will be used to determine whether the new theory is correct. You can follow their daily reports here.
|Earhart and Noonan|