Finding Amelia Earhart: New clues revealed
New discoveries may help answer questions about what happened to Amelia Earhart.
June 3rd, 2012
11:38 AM ET

Finding Amelia Earhart: New clues revealed

A mystery that has enthralled Americans for nearly a century may be on its way to being solved.

New evidence released Friday revealed clues that may solve the mystery of what happened to aviator Amelia Earhart, Discovery News reports.

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery announced that a new study suggests that dozens of radio signals once dismissed were actually transmissions from Earhart’s plane after she vanished during her attempted around-the-world flight in 1937.

The announcement was made at the start of a three-day conference in Washington dedicated to Earhart and the group’s search for the famous aviator’s remains and the wreckage of her plane.

On the conference website, the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery called Earhart’s unanswered distress calls “The smoking gun that was swept under the rug.”

Discovery News reported that the group has determined 57 “credible” radio transmissions from Earhart after her plane went down.

It has been researching the disappearance of Earhart, her navigator, Fred Noonan, and her Lockheed Electra aircraft for 24 years. Its members have developed a theory that Earhart’s remains lie on Nikumaroro Island in the Western Pacific.

Nikumoro Island, then called Gardner’s Island, had been uninhabited since 1892, the group said. In its version of Earhart’s final days, she and Noonan landed there after failing to find another island. They landed safely and radioed for help, the hypothesis goes. Eventually, the Electra was swept away by the tide, and Earhart and Noonan could no longer use its radio to call for help. U.S. Navy search planes flew over the island, but not seeing the Electra, they passed on and continued the search elsewhere.

The discovery of what is believed to be an old jar of anti-freckle cream may also provide clues to this decades-old mystery. It is suspected that the cosmetic bottle found on Nikumaroro Island once belonged to Earhart.

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery will launch an expedition to Nikumaroro Island on July 2, the 75th anniversary of Earhart’s disappearance. This is their ninth expedition.

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Filed under: Aviation • History • U.S. • Uncategorized
soundoff (260 Responses)
  1. Julia

    How cool would it be to finally know the truth about Amelia Earhart? The sad thing is, it sounds like she survived the crash but died knowing that no one was coming for her. She knew the risks, but still it would be a bittersweet ending.

    June 4, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  2. selfevolved

    That's actually pretty cool. Of course I always figured she had just crashed into the ocean somewhere and sunk to the bottom. Landing on a deserted island and being stuck there is much more interesting. I wonder how long they survived.

    June 4, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. whoknew

    For those saying this was a horrible recovery incompentence, it was 1937!!!!!! They didn't have the technology we have today. What do you expect?

    June 4, 2012 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. Anne

    The only real mystery is why anyone would spend so much time, money, and effort to investigate something that really does NOT matter.

    June 4, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  5. Robin Bray

    I have heard the stories about the radio calls ever since I was a kid. What I have never heard were that any of the calls were something like, we are safe, we have landed on a small island that was not our target. The stories have always been about transmissions of a plane still in flight mostly. Of course the retelling has messed up this information into pop culture.

    As fo the cosmetic jar: countless numbers of this type were made and used all over the world. In the area of the Pacific where there are no natural clays on many of the islands to make pottery, objects that work their way into the area were used again and again. Even Magellan found the natives using Chinese pottery that they had obtained 200 years before his visit.

    June 4, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  6. Alan

    Apparently there are some people who don't understand you cannot receive old radio transmissions. Once they're sent, if not immediately received, dissipate as fast as a light that you just turned off. Are people really donating money to an expedition that claims they can retrieve old messages? What a scam.

    June 4, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Glenn

      You don't know in what way they were recorded or noted and in who's log book and where. And apparently these logs or recordings are only recently resurfacing. Try to be a little less dismissive.

      June 4, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      ALAN: "Apparently there are some people who don't understand you cannot receive old radio transmissions. Once they're sent, if not immediately received, dissipate as fast as a light that you just turned off. Are people really donating money to an expedition that claims they can retrieve old messages? What a scam."

      If you had read the article, and used a little common sense, you'd have realized that the transmissions were received (and recorded), but subsequently ignored by the upper management. There was still enough of a paper trail for researchers to find later and subsequently go over.

      Reading comprehension 101..

      June 4, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Another big foot tale.

      June 4, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • MartyMoose

      What are you reading???

      June 4, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • DBHouston

      Alan – Yes radio signals do go on for a long time. There is a facility in Pinkney Michigan that intercepts and rebroadcasts radio signals that were originated in the 20's & 30's that have finally made the return trip after bouncing off of planets and stars.

      June 4, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Bubba™

      "Apparently there are some people who don't understand you cannot receive old radio transmissions. " Are you nuts or crazy? No one suggested that.

      June 4, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Drac

      Hey Alan, Take a course in reading comprehension. The old radio transmissions were recorded! They just weren't interpreted properly.

      June 4, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • T

      You're silly. Actually – energy doesn't really dissipate in the sense that it goes away. Rather, it continues on and/or is converted into another form. Radio waves indeed do continue on until they are reflected (and, possibly, absorbed – converted into something else) or redirected. In theory – all radio transmissions ever sent are still going out into space and if you were far enough away they are still 'receivable.' Just as in the way that the light you are seeing from stars, etc. actually was 'transmitted' millions and billions of years ago. Now, all that being, said what the article is really saying is not that they are trying to receive the transmissions again, but rather that they are reviewing evidence (logs, recordings, etc.) of those transmission.

      June 4, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • SouthernCelt

      Alan, apparently you don't understand radio communications.Yes, the electromagnetic transmission dissipated out in space somewhere, but Radio transmissions have been recorded in one way or another since the early days of radio. Recorded on paper by Governments initially, only the Freedom of Information Act makes them available. There are millions of messages so finding one particular message can take some time.

      June 4, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  7. Yoda

    Gillespie has had these theories for years. This will be like the rest. Plausible sounding stories wrapped around weak and unrelated evidence. If that picture with the alleged landing gear was her plane, it can't be too far away. Find it and the mystery can be solved. Otherwise its just smoke and mirrors.

    June 4, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill Duke

      Exactly. None of this is new. This is nothing more than a press release presented as news. Its all about trying to get donors. Follow the $$.

      June 4, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  8. trumod

    Dear CNN: 79 years is not "nearly a century."

    June 4, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      neither is 75

      June 4, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Acaraho

      Duh, 75 years in my book is nearly a century.

      June 4, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      "Dear CNN: 79 years is not "nearly a century.""
      yes it is, in the same way that just under a 1/4 tank of gas is nearly empty.

      June 4, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  9. JC-VA

    Why waste money on this..? Do they think she is going to be found alive after all these years..? Or Am I missing something..? I don't mean to be cruel, but really, I think they need to let this one go.

    June 4, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Drac

      No, they want to find her remains. It's not your money so why be so negative?

      June 4, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  10. Yoda

    Lost she is, find they might.....stray not from the right path....

    June 4, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Roger

      I think that she is with Gilligan and Mary Ann.

      June 4, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  11. toldUso

    The mystery to me is why anyone spends $$ or time on this matter. Besides, she's more mysterious not found.

    June 4, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  12. smart guy

    Since im the only Harvard Grad here you all should listen to me. E was in black ops to take out the beard. i cant say more but you should all be very jealous of my mental capacity..

    June 4, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  13. Ken

    Will they find her dead or alive? That is the next question some idiots will ask as soon as they figure out how her transmissions were received today. Some of these posters are not very smart. For some reason they fail to realize that either recordings or some form of transcript exist from her time period. At any rate, onece they figure that out, they will try to find her alive. What a bunch of Fruit Cakes.

    June 4, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  14. iceload9

    The evidence would have to be very conclusive at this point. After launching the largest search in history at that time and having anything that might be a clue, it's difficult to believe the recordings weren't reviewed 100 times. I also believe they would have considered the plane being lost.

    June 4, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  15. Percival Merriwether

    "Discovery News reported that the group has determined 57 “credible” radio transmissions from Earhart after her plane went down." If 57 radio transmissions were sent, how do we know that the plane was already down? Also, on a flight where minimizing excess weight had to be a priority, would she bring a jar of anti-freckle cream?

    June 4, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Acaraho

      The weight of the anti-freckle cream was minimal.

      June 4, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
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