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. Nick

    Here's an idea: let's create a law that says no one can do anything to advance human learning until every misery of every living person on earth is resolved. Would that make you ignorant cry babies happy?

    July 24, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  2. Amelia E.

    I'll say this once: I ditched the plane off of Hawaii on purpose to get away from the media/papparazi and still live there peacefully. Please go away.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  3. spike

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Wha? Oh, right. Amelia Earhart. Interesting! Very interesting! ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Neckstomp

      Oh. Amelia Earhart still isn't found. Great. That's like telling me the World Trade Center is still destroyed and John Wayne is still dead. Thanks for the update, CNN. Guess you need around 60 more "Opinion" columns to make up for real news, today.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • JoseVHK

      You are so lame ... we all see that your life is summarized as: zzzzzzzzzzzz

      July 24, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ArtInChicago

    No, her fate is not a mystery. It's a certainty. That's why their is a dorm named after her at Purdue University.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  5. Doug

    I am thinking that the people searching for Amelia Earhart do not really want to find her. If they fund her, no more funding for their expeditions. This is also why there is no cure for AIDS and most cancers. All researchers do is come up with reports of possibilities and more questions to study.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • RObert

      I personaly know three people who were and are in a group also researching and searching for Amelia. This is a different group than the article refers to. There is no public funding for this project and I assure you they DO want to find her!

      July 24, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • OriginalPhantom

      There you go! More proof that ignorance is alive and well.

      July 24, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. agry7

    Sorry to see she was not found but hey she's got great luggage to this day!!!!!!

    July 24, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  7. V.P.

    I really don't think anyone knows where Ms Amelia's plane is. I hope something turns up but...... what an interesting and strange story.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. docame

    Ok. Isn't that as it should be?

    July 24, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  9. Ismet

    What's the point of this? We know it's still a mystery and until you find her or her plain don't write articles to reinstate what we know.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bill Duke

    Money scam. I'm sure they will find even more suckers in the future to give them lots of money.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. spaz

    No signs of intelligent life in Uranus either.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Calcommuter

    What a surprise!!! The alleged picture of an overturned plane was a stretch at best. And the other "startling" evidence of a jar that MAY have held anti freckle cream that Amelia MAY have used was just ridiculous. This guy is a flim flam man and actually has no idea where she may have ended up, but is making money anyway. He has been to that island many times with no results. Most likely, she landed in the water, transmitted as long as she could and that was it.. There is just as much evidence to prove that as the island, the spy, or the prisoner theories!!!

    July 24, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Hot Carl

    She lived for 6 years on an uncharted island as Fred Noonan's s3x slave.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Karen

    Hey, Media: LET IT GO. She tried something high-risk. She died. It was eons ago. Big whoop.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ArizonaYankee

    Palin forgot more than Obama knows. I'm no fan of hers, but Obama is an undeniable disaster that is totally lost..

    July 24, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
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