Earhart searches find no obvious signs of her plane
Amelia Earhart with her navigator, Capt. Fred Noonan, before their fateful flight in which they disappeared.
July 24th, 2012
05:53 AM ET

Earhart searches find no obvious signs of her plane

A team of searchers looking for proof that Amelia Earhart crashed on a remote Pacific atoll 75 years ago were on their way back to Hawaii Tuesday without any concrete evidence to prove the aviation pioneer crashed on Nikumaroro.

"Big pieces of airplane wreckage were not immediately apparent," the group behind the search, The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, said on its website.

"As is usually the case with field work, we’re coming home with more questions than answers. We are, of course, disappointed that we did not make a dramatic and conclusive discovery, but we are undaunted in our commitment to keep searching out and assembling the pieces of the Earhart puzzle," the website said.

The TIGHAR group left Honolulu on July 3 on its ninth effort to search for wreckage of the Lockheed Electra that Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, were flying when they disappeared on an around-the-world flight in 1937.

The group 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.

Earlier this year, the group said it had come upon new evidence placing Earhart on Nikumaroro.

In March it said new analysis of a photo taken three months after Earhart and Noonan were lost showed what might have been the landing gear of Electra on a Nikumaroro reef. And in June, it said a new study suggests that dozens of radio signals once dismissed were actually transmissions from Earhart’s plane.

The searchers said Monday that five days of underwater searches around Nikumaroro had not produced any obvious signs of Earhart's Electra.

"No big shiny silver airplane, obvious to all, but the data on the various storage devices may hold treasures," the group's blog said.

But much analysis remains to be done, they said.

"We have volumes of sonar data and many hours of high-definition video to review and analyze before we will know whether we found it," the group said on its website. "Due to the limitations of the technology, we were only able to see standard-definition video images during actual search operations. Now that we're examining the recorded high-definition video, we’re already seeing objects we want our forensic imaging specialist, Jeff Glickman, to look at. We’ll also be getting expert second opinions on our best sonar targets."

Meanwhile, there was once distinct sighting of Earhart on Tuesday - on Google.

The search engine saluted Earhart on what would have been her 115th birthday with a doodle of her standing alongside a plane with Google emblazoned on the underside of the wing.

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Filed under: Aviation • History • U.S. • World
soundoff (184 Responses)
  1. T.L.O'Connell

    Well I do find it interesting as far as a story. And as long as it is private moneys being used, then it's fine that they are looking. But I would be miffed if it was tax dollars at work.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  2. Wondering!!!

    Is it just me, but shouldn't our many many missing children take priority here?

    July 24, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • archchuzzlewit

      You are aware that the people investigating this aren't cops or federal agents, right? This is a group of private individuals with an interest in the topic. Also, even if they were law enforcement of some kind, the government (both state and federal) is capable of doing more than one investigation at a time.

      July 24, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Jaime

      I hate people like you. Believe it or not, there are many important things that happen at once in life (shocker!). Some are more important to some people than others. Even as our hearts go out to victims of all kinds of unspeakable crimes, we don't stop researching and exploring.

      July 24, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  3. Kathmandu91

    Both her life and her disappearance inspire people to wonder. In a way, there's something satisfying about that.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  4. Paul Willson

    This is not news . This Story ended July 1937. AE & FN died when their aircraft hit the water. For AE there was a instrument mounted at foorehead hieght and since she only had a lap belt not a shoulder harness her head would have impacted that at least making her reaction time slower at worse cracking her skull. It is hoigh time these brave fliers were left to their place in history.
    Alsdo remember she was tired and aiming at a very small target with next to no navigation equipment excepting
    Noonans skill as navigator. That they got to Lae PNG was a miracle. And like the late Sally Ride Earhart inspired
    a generation of fliers. Thank AE & FN

    July 24, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |

    If rewards were high enough, and on a national basis,and we were to attack the problem of abducted children as vigorously as we do even pot smokers, then we may make a dent in the problem.
    One talks of finding a woman missing for 50 years. why the interest, it supports a group of people's hobby, and the lady was famous , and that makes the searchers celebritys of a sort.
    A policeman solves a case of a missing child and gets a paycheck, not much else.
    The weeping willows and willys pass laws. dry their eyes and become temporary celebrity for a cause, pay a buck and go on with lives.
    A missing child, unless of a well to do family or a slow day for media,lmost never goes beyond local interest, that the "local" is many many locals never seems to register on the commons minds.
    Someday they may find truth of Ms. Erhearts demise, then a 5 day carnival of interest by media, and another child will go missing.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • MaggieJS

      Oh, please! These people are not taking anything away from missing children (by the way, several missing children are also in the news this week, in case you haven't noticed). They are doing this with private money, in the interests of historical facts. Get over it. Some of us are interested, and if you're not, go on with your lives.

      July 24, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  6. Joe

    she's dead,move on.not many people know who she is.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • elisabethinca

      I agree that Amelia Earhart isn't known to some people. It's because we are a poorly educated nation. She was and is part of our history as Charles Lindberg and the Wright Brothers. Your statement says a lot and nobody should be proud of the fact they don’t know who she is. I find it hilarious that people are upset that this is a story but they came here to read this story. And all the talk about missing children is just ridicules. No child that is missing is being hurt in anyway because there is a group of people dedicated to finding out the mystery of Amelia Earhart. I suppose those people don't watch any TV at all because according to their theory all the actors and people it takes to put on a TV show shouldn't be doing that; they should be out searching for missing children. All the people that participate in civil war reenactments which are also privately funded shouldn't be spending all that money and time doing that; they should also be out searching for missing children. As horrible as even having one child missing is, our country has a rich history and all of it including Amelia Earhart should be preserved. To criticize people that are interested in this is just ridicules. Who says anything your interested in is worthwhile.

      July 24, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  7. danny

    I just wonder why they can't continue their useless search in private and that way we don't have to put up with these stupid articles.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  8. Philip

    Great! Now they can start looking for the 500 American children that go missing each day, never to be seen again.
    And CNN can have Nancy do a "5000 in 50 days" instead of her old 50 in 50 days spiel.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  9. Terry F.

    People may know who she is, but poor Fred Noonan, I swear anyone that does know her name thinks she was flying alone. That to me is incredibly insulting. True media bias once again. Gotta be PC. What a crock.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  10. Nick

    They both died in or after a crash in 1937. May they rest in peace. Now can we please look for our missing children rather than long dead individuals?

    Chances are, there is nothing left of the plane anyway.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  11. Philip

    According to the Department of Justice, over 2000 American children run away from home or go missing each day. About 1500 return home safely, leaving 500 children per day that are never heard from again, ever!
    And we are still looking for one old lady. Really really wierd of US.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      Not old. Certainly dead.

      July 24, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Amanda

      Use your own money to help find these missing children you're so, terribly worried about by commenting on a post on CNN. These people are usin their own private money to do this reasearch, why can't you? I'm sure one more person adding to the search for thousands of kids would DEFINITELY bring them all home and stop them from disappearing!

      July 24, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Philip, it's not the US looking for her, it's a private group funded privately.

      July 24, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Dana

      It's not the US doing these searches. It's just one group of people – The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery. International meaning people of more than one country involved. The international group I doubt is responsible (as a group) to help police or FBI search for missing children.

      July 24, 2012 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Susan

      What's your point? The "we" you are talking about is a private organization that is looking for the remains of Emelia Earhart. Performing this search takes nothing away from any government or private search for missing children.

      July 24, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Syracuse

      Hey Philip, how about instead of ranting online, get out of your chair and use your own money to find all these missing children. Just don't use my tax dollars because the people searching for Earhart are not using my tax dollars either.....

      July 26, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  12. Adam

    I think that it's actually one person, using several different names, posting on here about abducted children. The person's child was probably taken, and they have taken to...online message boards, to try and gather awareness. My theory. Either way it's sad that people come on news sites and try to discount credible news just because their one track minds can't handle multiple types of information.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  13. Katy

    Amen to that!

    July 24, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • us_1776

      What is with this "Amen" post going to the bottom all the time? It's time of post is way in the past.


      July 24, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jon

    SPOILERS: she crashed.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  15. Cat Lady

    Wouldn't these resources have been better spent on finding the thousands of missing cats in our country? Hundreds of cats go missing every day, but when is the last time you saw a news article on them? Cats are people too.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Sunshinestate

      Cat Lady. Cats are not people. They are animals. In many countries around the globe they are food. You need to go out and find human friends. Get a life.

      July 24, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • "Cat Lady" is a good parody,folks!

      Relax, people. "Cat Lady" is probably a 20-something with a good sense of humor.

      July 24, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
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