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March 21st, 2012
11:58 AM ET

Photo could be key to searching for and recovering Amelia Earhart's long-lost plane

It's one of the enduring mysteries of the 20th century: What happened to Amelia Earhart?

About 75 years ago, Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan vanished over the Pacific ocean trying to circumnavigate the Earth. Now there's a new clue: A photo that may show a portion of the famed pilot's downed plane.

Based on this photo, there are plans for a high-tech deep-sea expedition. The quest for answers even has the backing of the federal government. Even Secretary of State Hilary Clinton is voicing her support, explaining why Earhart resonates for so many Americans.

"She embodied the spirit of an America coming of age and increasingly confident, ready to lead in a quite uncertain and dangerous world," Secretary Clinton says.

Richard Gillespie, executive director of "TIGHER" which is short for the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, is spearheading this expedition and tells Ashleigh why the decision was made to search for Earhart's plane now.

In this video below, Gillespie explains why researchers believe this photo is key in aiding their search for the plane.

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