In 1937, Amelia Earhart attempted to circumnavigate the Earth in a Lockheed Model 10 Electra airplane. Radio contact with the pilot was lost over the Pacific Ocean, and both Earhart and the plane were never found.
Throughout the years, Earhart's disappearance has been the subject of novels, movies, and conspiracy theories. Many expeditions have been launched to find the plane, and many people have claimed to have discovered Earhart's fate. Now a sonar technology may have finally solved the 76-year-old mystery.
The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) this week released a blurry sonar image of an "anomaly" that could be Earhart's plane. According to TIGHAR, the object is the correct size and shape for the Electra, and it's located in a spot where Earhart may have crashed.
The image was taken at around 700 feet below sea level using an underwater vehicle that scanned the coastline of Nikumaroro Island, located in the middle of the Pacific. The scan was testing the theory that Earhart's plane crashed onto the island's reef, with the wreckage later being swept over the edge of the reef.
Researchers are excited, and do not believe the anomaly is simply a rock. The image also shows what appear to be "drag" markings, which could indicate that the object landed and was then moved by storms or strong tides.
TIGHAR researchers have not yet been able to confirm that the anomaly is, in fact, Earharts's Electra. The previous expedition was forced to cut its investigation of Nikumaroro's underwater cliffs short, due to equipment problems. The organization is currently raising money to mount another expedition to Nikumaroro.
(Image courtesy TIGHAR)