More Evidence Of Amelia Earhart’s Fate?


The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) is reporting that it is increasingly confident that a piece of aluminum it found on Nikumaroro Atoll in the south Pacific is from the Lockheed Electra flown by Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan on their ill-fated circumnavigation attempt in 1937. In a carefully worded statement, TIGHAR personnel assert that the 19-inch-wide by 23-inch-long fragment is believed to be a patch that was put on the aircraft where a window modification had earlier been made. According to TIGHAR the “complex fingerprint of dimensions, proportions, materials and rivet patterns was as unique to Earhart’s Electra as a fingerprint is to an individual.” The patch is believed to have been installed during Earhart’s stop in Miami, Florida, and is depicted in a photo in the July 1, 1937, issue of the Miami Herald.

An Electra undergoing restoration at Wichita Air Services in Newton, Kansas, was used for comparisons and measurements by TIGHAR personnel in their research into the aluminum fragment. TIGHAR hypothesizes that Earhart and Noonan did not ditch their airplane when they were unable to locate their intended destination, Howland Island, but rather landed on the reef at Nikumaroro. On its website, TIGHAR says evidence suggests the crew sent radio distress calls for at least five nights before the Electra was washed off the reef. During 2010 and 2012 TIGHAR used cameras and sonar on a Remote Operated Vehicle to search for evidence of the Electra on the slope of the reef and ocean bottom. An anomaly in the sonar imagery at a depth of 600 feet that is potentially the size of the Electra has been identified for further information when TIGHAR returns to the atoll in 2015. TIGHAR was sued last year by Timothy Mellon, who had given the organization more than $1 million, alleging that it had found the wreckage in 2010 but kept the discovery secret so it could solicit more money.