Group Found Earhart Plane, Kept It Quiet: Suit
TIGHAR rejects accusation
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Jun 11, 2013 7:12 AM CDT
Updated Jun 11, 2013 7:45 AM CDT
In a March 10, 1937 file photo, Amelia Earhart waves from the Electra before taking off from Los Angeles on March 10, 1937.   (AP Photo, file)

(Newser) – About two weeks ago, TIGHAR (that's the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery) announced that it may have spotted the location of Amelia Earhart's downed plane during a 2012 search. The most important part of that sentence, according to an angry donor, is the year: Timothy Mellon says TIGHAR actually found the remains of Earhart's plane in 2010 but didn't tell him—because it wanted him to help fund further searching, the AP reports. Now Mellon, who says he provided more than $1 million worth of stock last year for that 2012 search, is suing the Delaware group.

Images from a 2010 search of the waters around Nikumaroro reveal remnants of the plane underwater, says Mellon's lawyer. "As a layman, it is hard to see, unless you know what you're looking at," he notes, but experts came to a "definitive conclusion that that is in fact the wreckage, and it had been discovered two years before our client paid for another expedition." But a lawyer for TIGHAR says the group "did not conclusively make any discoveries in 2010 which it's withheld," adding: "There is no financial gain for us in hiding the discovery of the most famous missing aviator in the history of aviation."

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Showing 3 of 24 comments
MDE
Jun 11, 2013 5:34 PM CDT
Not so fast guys, if a man invests a million dollars into an expedition I am sure he did not do so without first doing a little due diligence and knowing a certain amount about the subject matter. Most likely the wreckage is being claimed by the Feds for the Smithsonian and the group that found it is negotiating an out for their efforts so they are not left empty handed. This is most likely what is going on, and it would explain why they are acting the way they are toward their investor.....the Feds are under sequester right now, but they are not likely to give up Amelia Erhardt's plane wreckage very easily if they want it for the Smithsonian Institute as a National Treasure. So the group that found it and their investors are walking on egg shells right now, if the wreckage is indeed the one in question. More than likely a sub expedition is planned to verify this.
okaragozian
Jun 11, 2013 3:01 PM CDT
At a passing glance, thousands of feet up in the air while traveling hundreds of miles per hour, you are supposed instantaneously identify a sunken plane underwater. Of course they knew about it! Even I knew about it before they knew about it! Everyone knew about it! What an idiot is this guy thinking that information gathered in 2010 can be definitively and conclusively determined to be this or that without any further investigation. This donor must be fishing in his toilet bowl for answers to world problems.
DonF
Jun 11, 2013 12:29 PM CDT
He sounds like an idiot! Just how does that moron think that what they found is her plane? No one on earth knows that for certain!