New Search for Earhart's Plane to Begin
TIGHAR will be back on Nikumaroro on June 13
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2015 8:52 AM CDT
This undated file photo shows Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.   (AP Photo, file)

(Newser) TIGHAR will soon be at it again. The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery will return to the Pacific island of Nikumaroro next month as part of its search for signs of Amelia Earhart's plane. The group announced on its website that a 14-person team will set off from Fiji on June 8 on its $500,000 Niku VIII expedition. It'll take them five days to reach the island, where they'll spend two weeks carrying out three search operations. An onshore team will use metal detectors to look for "signs of an initial survival camp," zeroing in on eight locations that were determined to possibly be the site of man-made objects per 1938 aerial photos. Lead archaeologist Thomas King tells the Marianas Variety that a botanical survey will seek to determine what Earhart could have eaten.

Underwater, a sonar-equipped small ROV with an ability to travel to depths of 1,000 feet will carry out a deep search, while a five-person scuba team handles more shallow waters. That dive team "will make an intensive search from the point on the reef edge where the plane appears to have gone into the water (the 1937 Bevington Object location) down to the edge of the first underwater cliff," per TIGHAR. Discovery News reports the mysterious "Bevington Object" refers to what a forensic imaging specialist in 2010 spotted in a 1937 photo taken by British Colonial Service officer Eric Bevington. TIGHAR thinks the object could be landing gear from Earhart's Lockheed Electra. (In October, TIGHAR reported that an object found on the island in 1991 may indeed have belonged to Earhart.)