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. davetharave

    It's a mystery wrapped in an enigma.

    July 2, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • puzzled

      I will try very hard to actually give a crap...No I won't!!

      July 2, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • MrBo

      Enigsterious!

      July 2, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cielo

      And served on a bed of lettuce.

      July 2, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. tutuvabene

    As long as my tax dollars aren't funding the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, they look for Earhardt in Timbuktu for all I care.

    July 2, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Heaven17

    Maybe she is in Heaven, OK? Can we drop this every 4 month update now?

    July 2, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Pants987987

    "Do clues to Amelia Earhart mystery lurk beneath the sea?"

    No kidding, Sherlock.

    July 2, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bh

    She may have been ahead of her time. She may have been a good pilot. She may have been a great person. But let's face it. She crashed, and she is dead. The story ended many decades ago.

    July 2, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. pete

    Briori, abducted 300 humans in 1937 together with Earhart, and took them to a planet in the Delta Quandrant. Dont you guys watch star trek?

    July 2, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Frankie

    I looks like that freckle cream they sold to Amelia didn't work.

    July 2, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. nukinfutz

    ocean currents have probably moved it around the sea bottom 10 times. look in the gulf of mexico

    July 2, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Eddie Haskell

    Ric Gillespie is NUTS!!

    July 2, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. 1amazed1

    Hope they find the plane next to the island then we will know where they were.

    July 2, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Anomic Office Drone

    You can find information about someone who probably crashed in the ocean in the ocean? You don't say...

    July 2, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. pork&beans

    Wonderwoman was the greatest female pilot of her era.

    July 2, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. shock and awe

    For once, it's a good thing that there are people out there looking for useful information.

    July 2, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Just Curiosity?

    Some just have too much time and money I guess? It seems that solving the disappearance of someones child would be a more worthwild project? Just saying?

    July 2, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • shock and awe

      Maybe it would be, but also not as interesting. What would be more fun than to use all this hi-tech gear, and solving a mystery once and for all?

      July 2, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chuck in Jasper, Ga.

      Apparently you missed the obvious. Amelia WAS somebodies child. You mean looking for somebody's child in this decade huh? Preposterous posting.

      July 2, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. shock and awe

    Imagine, the navy planes flew over, and Emilia saw them come and go – and vanish. I wonder what it felt like to be stuck on a speck of the island, and running out of food and water...

    July 2, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
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