Do clues to Amelia Earhart mystery lurk beneath the sea?
Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan before they famously disappeared in 1937.
July 2nd, 2012
02:04 PM ET

Do clues to Amelia Earhart mystery lurk beneath the sea?

A deep-sea expedition will launch from the shores of Honolulu on Tuesday in an attempt to solve the mystery of vanished aviator Amelia Earhart, according to the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery.

The group will launch its Niku VII expedition 75 years after the first ship set sail in search of Earhart, her navigator Fred Noonan and their Lockheed Electra aircraft.

The initial launch was set for Monday, but was pushed back to Tuesday because of a scarcity of flights to Hawaii, according to the expedition’s daily reports Web page.

“Meanwhile, the technical staff is very glad of the extra day,” a recent blog post from the group said. “There are always glitches, stuff that doesn’t work quite the way it should, tests that need to be run, toothpaste to be bought, and the additional time will allow for these issues to be resolved while still in port where there are stores and cell phones and other markers of modern civilization.”

Once out of the port, the crew will set sail for Nikumaroro Island in the South Pacific, where researchers believe Earhart landed, was stranded and ultimately met her death during her doomed attempt at an around-the-world flight in 1937.

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery has been investigating the mystery surrounding Earhart’s death for 24 years, has launched eight prior expeditions and has developed a comprehensive theory of her disappearance and last days on earth.

“This is the hi-tech deep water search we’ve long wanted to do but could never afford,” the group said on its website. The expedition is funded by corporate sponsors and charitable donations.

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery theorizes that Earhart and Noonan landed on Nikumaroro Island - then called Gardner’s Island - after failing to find a different South Pacific island they were set to land on. The pair is believed to have landed safely and called for help using the Electra’s radio. And in a twist of fate, the plane was swept out to sea, washing away Earhart and Noonan’s only source of communication. U.S. Navy search planes flew over the island, but not seeing the Electra, passed it by and continued the search elsewhere.

"What makes this the best expedition is the technology we've been able to assemble to search for the wreckage of that airplane," Rick Gillespie, executive director for The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, told CNN on Monday. "We have an autonomous vehicle. We have multibeam sonar above the University of Hawaii ship we're on right now. We have a remote-operated vehicle to check out the targets (and a) high-definition camera. We're all set."

At a conference in Washington, D.C., last month, the organization announced its newest study suggesting that dozens of radio signals once dismissed were actually transmissions from Earhart’s plane after she vanished. Discovery News reported that the group has discovered there were 57 “credible” radio transmissions from Earhart after her plane went down.

Earlier this year, the organization also discovered what is believed to be a cosmetics jar once belonging to Earhart on Nikumaroro Island.

"All these things we can't explain unless the woman we think was there, was there," Gillespie said.

More on Amelia Earhart:

Finding Amelia Earhart: New clues revealed

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Filed under: Aviation • History
soundoff (214 Responses)
  1. jezabel

    i bet she was an animal in the sack!

    July 2, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Amelia

    Note to self: Bring GPS unit.

    July 2, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. MK

    If only Gilligan, the Skipper, the Millionaire and his wife, the Movie Star, the Professor and Mary Ann had been on board or on the island.... then they could have lasted at least 3 seasons and many years in syndication. It wouldn't have mattered that the plane and radio were swept out to sea....

    July 2, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mike

    This chick was some respect. Doing what she and her co-pilot were trying to do, in that era and with that technology, was gutsy as hell.

    July 2, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hillary

      A brave show off accomplishing nothing but her own glory. She just wasnt as good as Lindberg

      July 2, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ted

    If she landed her plane on that atole, why are they searching deep into water?

    July 2, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • filla_dilla

      Becase the theory is the plane got swept out to sea.

      July 2, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • tet1953

      Didnt read the whole story eh? They believe that the plane was washed offshore later.

      July 2, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seidan

      If it was on low ground it could have easily been swept out into the ocean.

      July 2, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Diana

      The plane was supposedly washed out to sea when the tide or high waves came in.

      July 2, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • The dude

      If you bother to read the whole article; they theorize" the plane was swept out to sea".

      July 2, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Crash_Moses

      The theory is that she would have tried to make a beach landing as there is no actual place to land the plane on the island. If she landed during low tide the plane may have been washed out to sea as the tide came in.

      July 2, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mickey1313

    If the headline isn't earhart found!!!! I don't want to hear about it any more.

    July 2, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • peridot2

      The world shall bow to your demand and bend to your will. No further news reports will be written upon this topic, forthwith!


      July 2, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Anchorite

    The only tragedy besides taking her navigator to the same watery grave is that this irresponsible woman was automatically assumed to be a good role model for women and girls. If she was a man she'd be labeled as a rakehell, a lazy and irresponsible pilot who fell victim to his own mistakes. I suspect her flamboyant, self-promoting behavior (such as this very voyage) is what got her to be a household name instead of the many other talented and hard-working woman pioneer pilots.

    July 2, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susan

      So, we'll assume you don't get out of your closet much. We wouldn't want you to be innovative, creative, imaginative, or possibly accomplish something fantastic. No worries, there needs to be mediocre people, as well.

      July 2, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeremy

      I'm afraid your post-modernism is showing. In the time period, if she had been a man, she would have been Charles Lindbergh.

      July 2, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • wjmknight

      If a man's (or woman's) reach does not exceed their grasp, then what is a heaven for?

      July 2, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • 123elle

      Wow, sounds like you wish she could be found alive so you could slap the tar out of her. She was an adventuress, and sure, she could have sat in her living room discussing ways to make the perfect Hollandaise sauce. Or become a nun. I personally don't approve of people risking their precious lives, so in "my" world, Everest would remain unclimbed, the Atlantic and Pacific unflown, etc., and all would-be daredevils would have lived out their lives to aged infirmity. But why be so judgmental and angry? She was beautiful, daring, a romantic figure and one of those humans that more timid humans like to read about. My vote is with Beryl Markham, a fearless, naughty, utterly self-willed woman aviator who flew the Atlantic singlehanded east to west. And write about it so rivetingly that people are just sure that a man must have written her own autobiography! They are forced to concede, tho, that she did fly that plane herself.

      July 2, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pancho

      A rakehell...??? How old are you..???

      July 2, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • peridot2

      Anchorite, you know nothing about this subject. Noonan was a known alcoholic. If anyone's to blame for the failure of the last voyage of Amelia Earhart, it's her alcoholic navigator who failed her in every way.

      However, in the interest of being fair, we do not know what happened at the end. Since we do not know, it's better not to blame anyone for what came to pass more than 70 years ago. It would be best to find their final landing place and be satisfied with that.

      There's always some sour-minded Monday-morning quarterbacking curmudgeon who insists on assigning blame with 20/20 hindsight when there's no way to determine what happened in the past. What we do know is that Ms Earhart landed the plane on the beach of that island rather than crashing into the water as was believed in 1937. Radio signal triangulation settled on Nikumaroro Island.

      July 2, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Cosmo

    Cosmetics cases are immune to alien tractor beams
    Thanks Amelia, we now have the key to defeating their invasion force!

    July 2, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Felicia 123

    Who really cares?

    July 2, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • mahdeealoo

      And who really cares about the fact that you obviously don't. She was following her passion. That is NO reason to dis someone. What great accomplishments have you achieved? Learning how to save big money at WalMart?

      July 2, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • FHofstetter

      Felicia – we don't care about you!

      July 2, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • peridot2

      Anyone intelligent with a sense of history who cares about pioneering women. That is, anyone who isn't you.

      July 2, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ralphmclaurin

    I have about $2,250 in credit debt that i struggle to get paid off. These people throw away good money on this when i could, essentially, start a brand new life with mere pennies- comparatively. Shucks!

    July 2, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • elly

      And who else other than you is at fault for not using your brain in managing your finances? If you spent only what you had, you would not have any debt. Amelia is part of our history and she deserves to be found, we all deserve to know what happened to her.

      July 2, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • peridot2

      So, basically, your post is about financial envy, RalphMcLaren, right? I'm so glad I donated to this non-profit. It made me feel good to participate. What do you do to help people in your neighborhood? Surely you have time, if you don't have money resources available to help others? Bitterness isn't attractive or healthy in anyone.

      You post frequently on this topic. Have you ever tried to get a second job to try to pay off your credit card debt? If that's not possible, look up Consumer Credit Counseling online. They can help you secure special terms to pay off your credit card debt faster. Once I managed a collection department for a major bank and had to recommend this for some of our customers who got in over their heads with medical bills and other problems. This is a non-profit service funded by credit card companies. They'll help you, they helped out many of my customers. They can get you a reduced interest rate on your balance so you can pay it off faster.

      July 2, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Minorkle

    The best chance to find any clue is near Nothing Atoll

    July 2, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Fred Noonan

    Amelia is in my tummy!

    July 2, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. snootay

    I rage a little bit every time Amelia Earhart comes up in conversation as being some great mystery. The mystery has already been solved, but nobody cared enough to save the evidence. In 1940 – JUST FOUR YEARS AFTER SHE DISAPPEARED – the skeleton of a white female of Amelia's height was found on an island a couple miles southeast of where she was last reported, next to a pilot survival kit, some broken glass from the windshield of a plane and the same type of navigation equipment installed on the plane she was flying. But because we didn't have any sort of DNA testing in 1940 to prove who the bones belonged to it was deemed inconclusive, nobody bothered to save the bones and the "mystery" continued.

    July 2, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • wjmknight

      If you don't know the name of the island, then you don't know buckus.

      July 2, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • snootay

      Nikumaroro, one of the Kiribati islands.

      Don't worry, I'll wait while you get a map.

      July 2, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Minorkle

      The island was actually an is named "Nothing Atoll"

      August 22, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. alpg49

    This is a total scam. This group has been trolling for funds for years, if not decades. They go to a once-occupied island, find some aluminum, then try to sell it as part of the plane. Total scam.

    July 2, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mark

    A big hoax

    July 2, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
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