New Evidence Leads To Renewed Search For Amelia Earhart

March 20, 2012 - via

Earhart, Fred Noonan Disappeared In Pacific In 1937

SAN DIEGO -- A new search will be launched this summer in an effort to finally learn what happened to famed pilot Amelia Earhart. In the 1930s, Earhart was arguably the most famous woman in the world, setting one aviation record after another. In 1937, she and navigator Fred Noonan set out to circumnavigate the world in a Lockheed Electra plane. However, after taking off from New Guinea and heading for Howland Island, she and Noonan disappeared.

In one of the most extensive searches ever, the USS Colorado, USS Lexington and a U.S. Coast Guard cutter searched for 16 days without results. Now, 75 years later, a researcher exploring a British photo of a shipwreck taken three months after Earhart disappeared saw something in the picture that did not belong. "He said, 'I think this might be a Lockheed Electra landing gear,'" said Ric Gillespie of the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery.

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery now believes they know where to search for Earhart and Noonan. "We'll search with high-resolution, side scan sonar mounted on an autonomous underwater vehicle, an AUV," said Gillespie.

For San Diego Air & Space Museum President Jim Kidrick, the renewed search is welcome news. "This is the last great mystery that is still unsolved in the world," Kidrick told 10News. In the museum's tribute to Earhart is a replica of the Lockheed Vega that she set solo world records in, like crossing the Atlantic and the U.S. The original plane is at the Smithsonian Institution. "They found the [USS] Bismark. They found the Titanic. They found everything else, but they never found Amelia," said Kidrick.

While not offering a guarantee, Gillespie believes the new evidence at least gives them hope of succeeding when no one else had.

A search team will set out on the 75th anniversary of Earhart's disappearance this July.

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