Today, on the anniversary of pilot Amelia Earhart’s mysterious disappearance, a group of people who desperately want to know what happened to her are setting out to search once again for the wreckage of her plane. What makes this search different than all the others is that investigators believe they know just where it is, hundreds of miles from where she was originally believed to have gone down.
Robert Ballard–famously credited with finding the wreckage of the Titanic–is working with the International Group For Historic Aircraft Recovery to search the waters around the island of Nikumaroro for Earhart’s plane. They believe that instead of crashing into the ocean, which is the most popular theory, she actually crash landed on the island with her navigator, Fred Noonan, and that the tide took the plane out to sea. The wreckage could be waiting in the deep waters of the western Pacific Ocean, they say.
Interestingly, the remains of a female have been found on the island already, as well as several signs that someone spent some time there and had learned to catch fish and open clams. The original search for Earhart included that island, but investigators didn’t give it a thorough search because no plane was spotted and because, although signs of “recent habitation” were seen, it was believed at the time that there were many people living on the island. In fact, it hadn’t been inhabited since the late 1800’s.
Ballard and his team have the full support of the Transportation Cabinet and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who issued a statement about the expedition.
“Even if you do not find what you seek, there is great honor and possibility in the search itself,” she said. “So, like our lost heroine, you will all carry our hopes … We are excited and looking forward to hear about your own great adventure.”