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. orion7x

    I thought Star Trek Voyager settled this. They found her (still alive) in the Delta Quadrant. Still had her plane. They found other missing people too! LOL!!

    July 24, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • GinaBonBon

      hey, yeah!! you're right! i had forgotten all about that!

      July 24, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris

      yeah! she is one of the 37"s!!

      July 24, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • joenyc

      Yeah. Abe Lincoln, Amelia, and Scooby Doo.

      August 5, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. eroteme

    Oh well, maybe next week.

    July 24, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. us_1776

    If the plane sank and went over the edge of the reef the slope is about 45 deg.

    Very likely the plane went down very deep and may have been torn up quite a bit in the journey down the slope.

    .

    July 24, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. SouthernCelt

    After 75 years in warm salt water I really doubt it is shiny sliver or even intact anymore.

    July 24, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • B.E.B.C

      I thought the same!

      July 24, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chopper

    Sounds like she got what she deserved for being uppity.

    July 24, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Juan

    The evidence that has been amassed by this group along with research they have done is quite impressive. Go to their website if you are interested. TIGHAR in google should get you there.

    July 24, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. B.E.B.C

    Shame. When I was a kind, I was always seeing those old 'In Search Of' shows hosted by Leonard Nimoy. And always remember ones about her. Would be totally fascinating to find out what really happened. Good luck to them, the Pacific is so vast. And R.I.P Emilia. Hopefully, someday, we'll know what happened.

    July 24, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. BigdaddyUSA

    Who cares? How many millions did you waste on that expedition? Did Obama fund this with more of our money? How about you cancel the next trip and donate the money to families that can't feed their kids or don't have shelter? Duhh

    July 24, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • RF Burns

      It was privately funded, you dolt.

      July 24, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      No it was funded by Bush. Looking for those WMDs!!!

      July 25, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patriot

      And you gave how much to needy families?

      July 25, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • joenyc

      Yeah right. And how much have YOU donated?

      August 5, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. cs

    Give the mystery to the Scooby Do gang. They never fail to solve a mystery.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sharp

    The plane will probably never be found. On the other hand they did find the Liberty Bell 7 capsule; Almost as difficult a feat. If the plane ditched in open water it will take either impossibly vast searching or advanced technology we currently don't have. If it sank in deep & therefore still water it will wait for us for centuries.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. BOMBO ©

    I hope she's OK.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ninehunglowe

    I contirbuted my sr. membership dues of $45 to join TIGHAR this year, so I contirbuted to this expedition!!!

    July 24, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Howard H

      Money well wasted.

      July 25, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. vivee

    Please stop this "Earheart" madness. There are so many other more important issues to investigate, discover and
    talk about. I am really tired of seeing articles regarding a plane crash that happened over 70 years ago. There is no way there would be anything left to find at this point.

    July 25, 2012 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
  14. 234312543511

    Amelia Earhart flew a lot of airplanes, except for that one time where she didn't come back.....And then there's MAUDDDEEE!!

    July 26, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ouy

    Naw she ran off with her lover on a well planned secret escape. The plane is hidden in a private hangar some place in perfect condition, Waiting for the right time to sell it.......

    July 26, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
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