Tags: amelia | earhart | sonar | images | plane

Amelia Earhart: Sonar Search May Have Discovered Missing Pilot's Plane

By Morgan Chilson   |   Thursday, 30 May 2013 05:20 PM

The mystery of Amelia Earhart's disappearance may be solved with new evidence showing a sonar image of a plane resting underwater near the Republic of Kiribati, a group of South Pacific islands.

Analysis of the 1937 sonar image shows an underwater object that a specialist said is about the right shape and size to be Earhart’s plane. Discovery News reported the photo seems to show a wheel, a fender and other parts.

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The debris is found in an area that was already designated a possibility for Earhart’s crash site by the International Group for Historic Airplane Recovery (TIGHAR). This organization runs the Earhart Project, which focuses on finding evidence of what happened to the famous woman pilot after she left on an attempt to be the first woman to fly around the world.

In 2012, TIGHAR found a debris trail in the same general area as the sonar image, near the Nikumaroro island, and went on an underwater search for evidence of the plane. They did not find anything at that time, but the sonar image is from an area near where they were searching.

TIGHAR also sent expeditions to the island to determine if evidence might exist that Earhart survived the landing. They did find some indications, including fecal matter, that people were on the island in the 1930s.

The sonar image wouldn’t have been found if a member of TIGHAR hadn’t noticed it and realized the implications. It’s a grainy, hard-to-read photo, but Richard Conroy noticed the irregularity while reading a report.

The executive director of TIGHAR told Discovery News that it is estimated to take about $3 million to put together an expedition that will look for the plane. The organization is a nonprofit with a website at www.tighar.org.

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