2007-04-02

Ongoing Search for Earhart


Courage is the price that Life exacts for granting peace.

Amelia Earhart




Nearly seventy years ago the legendary Amelia Earhart disappeared as she was about to become the first female aviator to circumnavigate the globe.

Earhart was flying eastward across the Pacific in 1937 in her Lockheed L-10E Electra with navigator Fred J Noonan. This leg of the trip, a particularly perilous one, began with a July 1 takeoff from Lae, New Guinea and was to end eighteen hours later with a July 2 landing on Howland Island. As Earhart neared Howland she relied on a radio crew from the US Coast Guard cutter Itasca to send homing signals and help Noonan track the plane's position.

Unknown to anyone involved was that the radio-reception antenna had been torn from Earhart's aircraft during its bumpy takeoff from Lae. The Itasca's radio crew could hear Earhart's transmissions but she could hear nothing. She never arrived at Howland Island.

As Richard Pyle reports in Live Science, new details have emerged about the landing that never happened. In 1937 a 23-year-old University of Hawaii student, James W Carey, covered this stage of Earhart's journey for The Associated Press. Carey kept a journal. This record of the event only became known to Earhart scholars a few months ago when a member of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR, pronounced 'tiger') found a typed copy of the journal for sale on eBay.

TIGHAR has been investigating evidence that Earhart may have ditched her plane at an uninhabited atoll known as Nikumaroro, or Gardner Island. She and Noonan may have lived there for some time after the crash as castaways.

When the seventieth anniversary of Earhart's disappearance arrives on July 2, an expedition team at Nikumaroro may be learning more about the fate of America's illustrious aviator.


Richard Pyle. 'Diary a Clue to Amelia Earhart Mystery.'
Live Science, 2007 04 01.

Official Site of Amelia Earhart

TIGHAR: The Earhart Project

Thomas F King: 'Amelia Earhart's Fate.' About Archaeology, 2005.

Photo: USAF. Amelia Earhart's Lockheed L-10 Electra, at Oakland, California USA on 1937 March 20.

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