On March 20, 2012 at a special event in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the United States Department of State in Washington, D.C., Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that later this year TIGHAR will do the long-awaited search for Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra in the deep waters off the reef at Nikumaroro in the Republic of Kiribati.
Sharing the dais with Secretary Clinton were Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood; Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Island Affairs Kurt Campbell; Kiribati Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Tessie Lambourne; National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Robert Ballard; and TIGHAR Executive Director Ric Gillespie.
Following the event at the State Department, Kiribati Secretary Lambourne and TIGHAR’s Ric Gillespie signed an Antiquities Management Agreement that grants TIGHAR an exclusive license and right to search for, study, recover and preserve objects, including plane parts or wreckage, relating to or which tend to suggest the presence of Amelia Earhart and/or Fred Noonan within the territorial boundaries of the Republic of Kiribati.
As with previous TIGHAR expeditions, funding for this search is being raised entirely through contributions from private citizens, foundations, and corporations. Lockheed Martin is leading a growing family of corporate sponsors. TIGHAR’s long-time sponsor FedEx is aboard with a major contribution of shipping services, and we are proud to announce that, in addition to helping sponsor the expedition, Discovery Channel is producing a television special to air later this year documenting the search.
Underwater operations will be conducted for TIGHAR by Phoenix International, the U.S. Navy’s primary contractor for deep ocean search and recovery. We’ll sail from Honolulu July 2nd – the 75th anniversary of the Earhart disappearance.
TIGHAR is deeply appreciative of the expressions of support voiced by Secretary Clinton, Secretary LaHood, Secretary Lambourne, Assistant Secretary Campbell, and Dr. Ballard. We’ll have more details about this exciting expedition soon.
External link: http://tighar.org/