No wreckage found in expedition to solve fate of Amelia Earhart

Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:57pm EDT
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By Treena Shapiro

HONOLULU (Reuters) - A team trying to solve the mystery of Amelia Earhart's fate 75 years after she vanished over the Pacific has ended its expedition to a remote island without finding her plane, the group said.

Researchers on July 3 set off on a $2.2 million expedition and traveled 1,800 miles by ship from Honolulu to Nikumaroro in the Republic of Kiribati to search for clues to her disappearance in 1937.

"We are returning from Nikumaroro with volumes of new sonar data and hours upon hours of high-definition video," The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery said in a statement on Monday.

TIGHAR did not immediately release details about what the sonar data or video might show, and it did not say that any plane wreckage it had sought has been recovered.

Earhart, along with her navigator Fred Noonan, set out to circumnavigate the globe along an equatorial route.

Richard Gillespie, executive director of TIGHAR, has said that he believes Earhart died a castaway in searing hot Nikumaroro, which is 400 miles southeast of the Howland Island destination that Earhart and Noonan had been aiming for when they disappeared. Before radio contact was lost, Earhart had said from the air that her plane was short on fuel.

Gillespie has said evidence found on Nikumaroro in previous expeditions included what appeared to be a bottle of 1930s anti-freckle cream, bits of clothing and human bone fragments, which have led some to believe Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan may have been marooned on the island.

TIGHAR said on its website that researchers are on their way back to Honolulu after cutting short the expedition due to equipment malfunctions. They spent five days on site, but had planned to be there for 10 days.   Continued...

Renowned U.S. pilot Amelia Earhart is pictured in this 1928 photograph released on March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Library of Congress/Handout