Search for Amelia Earhart Begins Off Hawaii

Latest expedition hopes to find concrete evidence of plane

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 3, 2012 7:05 AM CDT

(Newser) – Seventy-five years later, could the world finally learn the fate of Amelia Earhart? An expedition is setting sail from Hawaii today, headed to the uninhabited island of Nikumaroro where it hopes to finally determine once and for all what happened to the famous aviator. Recently unearthed clues, including a jar of anti-freckle cream, other 1930s relics, and even a bone fragment, point to the possibility that Earhart ended up on the remote island after crash-landing and lived there for a time as a castaway with navigator Fred Noonan.

The $2 million expedition is led by Ric Gillespie, a champion of the Nikumaroro theory and executive director of the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, which has mounted nine previous expeditions to the island, the BBC reports. After making the 1,800-mile journey to Nikumaroro, researchers will spend 10 days diving near Nikumaroro, using sonar-equipped robots to search the water for conclusive evidence of Earhart's airplane, Reuters reports. "The public wants evidence, a smoking gun," Gillespie says. "That smoking gun is Earhart's plane."

In a 1937 file photo aviator Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, pose in front of their twin-engine Lockheed Electra in Los Angeles.
In a 1937 file photo aviator Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, pose in front of their twin-engine Lockheed Electra in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo, File)
In a March 10, 1937 file photo American aviatrix Amelia Earhart waves from the Electra before taking off from Los Angeles, Ca., on March 10, 1937.
In a March 10, 1937 file photo American aviatrix Amelia Earhart waves from the Electra before taking off from Los Angeles, Ca., on March 10, 1937.   (AP Photo, file)
An undated file photo shows American aviatrix Amelia Earhart.
An undated file photo shows American aviatrix Amelia Earhart.   (AP Photo, File)
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