Debris discovered in the depths of the South Pacific may be remnants of vanished aviator Amelia Earhart’s plane.
“A review of high-definition underwater video footage taken during the recently-completed Niku VII expedition has revealed a scattering of man-made objects on the reef slope off the west end of Nikumaroro,” The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery reported on its website.
The question researchers are now asking: Do these new images reveal parts of the same plane captured in a 1937 photo of Nikumaroro?
Discovery News reports that the 1937 photo of the island's western shoreline was taken three months after Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared. The shot by British Colonial Service officer Eric R. Bevington, “revealed an apparent man-made protruding object on the left side of the frame.” Forensic analysis of the image “found the mysterious object consistent with the shape and dimension of the upside-down landing gear of Earhart's plane.”
"The Bevington photo shows what appears to be four components of the plane: a strut, a wheel, a wom gear and a fender. In the debris field there appears to be the fender, possibly the wheel and possibly some portions of the strut," TIGHAR forensic imaging specialist Jeff Glickman told Discovery News.
TIGHAR launched the expedition last month, working on a theory that Earhart and Noonan became stranded and ultimately met their deaths on Nikumaroro Island after their Lockheed Electra plane was swept out to sea 75 years ago.
The group’s ninth expedition to the island kicked off with a chorus of excitement and criticism around the Internet. Researchers ultimately returned to the U.S. admitting they had found no obvious signs of the plane.
But new analysis of an underwater debris field may prove the researchers found exactly what they were looking for.
This morning on "Early Start," TIGHAR's Ric Gillespie explains the latest in the search, and describes how the footage may show the remnants of Earhart's plane.