The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery has announced that an underwater video may have captured plane debris from Amelia Earhart’s ill-fated flight over the Pacific ocean.
“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,” an announcement on the TIGHAR website reads.
“The newly discovered debris field is in deep water offshore the location where an object thought to be Lockheed Electra landing gear appears in a photo taken three months after Amelia Earhart disappeared.”
TIGHAR believes that the contents of the debris field appear to be consistent with the landing gear in the 1937 photo.
“It’s still very early days, but we have man-made objects in a debris field in the place where we’d expect to find it if our theory on the airplane is correct,” said TIGHAR Director Ric Gillespie, according to a Reuters report. ”We were rushing to get at least some video reviewed so we could show something.”
Reuters says that video footage was take in July by TIGHAR while the team conducted a multi-million dollar expedition to Nikumaroro in the Republic of Kiribati. Although the expedition suffered numerous technical issues, the team of aviation enthusiasts was able to gather many hours of video footage which they finally viewed after leaving Nikumaroro.
“We don’t want to oversell this. It’s more evidence. It is where it should be, and that is encouraging,” Mr. Gillespie said. “If it does appear to be airplane wreckage, it becomes figuring out how to go back and look at it.”
According to the U.S. Navy, Ms. Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, took of from Lae for Howland Island on July 2, 1937. Although Ms. Earhart and Mr. Noonan had planned to land on the small island, their last positive position report and sighting took place over the Nukumanu Islands, less than halfway into the journey.
The U.S. Navy says that the seasoned aviator was ill-equipped to communicate effectively with the U.S. Coast Guard cutter USCGC Itasca, which was stationed near Howland to help guide Ms. Earhart to the island once she arrived in the region. Although the Navy and Coast Guard organized a coordinated search for Ms. Earhart and navigator, no physical evidence was ever found.
Discovery News says that the Discovery Channel will reveal the TIGHAR’s captivating video evidence in a documentary titled “Finding Amelia Earhart: Mystery Solved?” on Sunday, August 19 at 10 p.m. EDT.