$2 Million Drive Aims to Find Amelia Earhart's Plane

Image: $2 Million Drive Aims to Find Amelia Earhart's Plane Amelia Earhart poses with her Lockheed Electra 10E plane.

Monday, 12 May 2014 03:51 PM

By John A. Oswald

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Determined more than ever to find Amelia Earhart's missing plane, pilot and four-time America's Cup sailor Dana Timmer has launched a $2 million Kickstarter campaign to fund a bold new mission to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, reports The Daily Caller.

Fifteen years ago, Timmer led the first deep-water sonar search for the wreckage of Earhart's twin-engine Lockheed Electra. It came up empty.

But Timmer says that after years of digging through sonar data, he has found four anomalous symmetrical shapes on the ocean floor. One of them could prove to be the plane Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan went down in on their way from New Guinea to Howland Island in 1937, according to The Daily Caller.

"I am on the verge of discovering what happened to her all those years ago," Timmer says in a video on the Kickstarter page that asks visitors to the page to help fund the $1.96 million mission.

There are 31 days left in the money-raising drive. So far, 123 donors have pledged $14,200. The money will be used to charter the expedition and fund a documentary, Timmer says, and famed sonar experts from Williamson and Associates will participate.

Earhart, who earned international acclaim for flying solo across the Atlantic, was on a mission to circle the planet when she mysteriously vanished.

The 99's — an organization of female pilots that Earhart founded — is working with Timmer.

"My generation of female pilots ... exist because of her legacy," says Aloha 99 chapter President Nicole Vandelaar, owner of Novictor Aviation. "This is our chance to connect with the spirit that inspires our success."

Timmer's mission is not the only one proposed.

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), which has been investigating the disappearance of Earhart and her airplane for decades, thinks she and Noonan made an emergency landing on Gardner's Island, which is also called Nikumaroro, in the small South Pacific republic of Kiribati.

The group thinks the two survived the emergency landing and became castaways until they died. The atoll, a blistering hot coral reef surrounding a salt-water lagoon, was uninhabited and lacked fresh water, researchers say.

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