New evidence, new expedition and new hope in search for Amelia Earhart

On Wednesday, March 12, Ric Gillespie, executive director of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), showed aircraft debris that washed up on Nikumaroro, an uninhabited South Pacific atoll where Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan are believed to have landed and ultimately perished as castaways. The debris is the subject of new materi­als analysis that may result in conclusive proof that the wreckage came from Amelia Earhart’s aircraft.

Gillespie also presented an overview of TIGHAR’s 11th Earhart expedition to Nikumaroro scheduled for Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, 2014.

Terry Kerby, Chief Submersible Pilot and Operations Director for the University of Hawai’i Undersea Research Laboratory, explained how HURL’s three-person manned submersibles, Pisces IV and Pisces V, will be used to search for wreckage from the Earhart aircraft.

TIGHAR Underwater Archaeologist Kelly Gleason, Ph.D., described the long-term effects of a dynamic coral reef environment on aircraft structures and what the expedition might expect to find.

Funding to complete the expedition’s $2 million budget is being sought from corporations, foundations, and individuals. Four berths on the expedition team have been reserved for spon­sors who wish to participate in the search, according to organizers, who noted that qualified sponsors will dive aboard the subs.

Twenty-five years of research and 10 archaeological expeditions to the South Pacific have brought TIGHAR to the brink of conclusive proof of Earhart’s fate, according to officials. This year could see the answer to one of history’s greatest mysteries, they promise.

For more information: TIGHAR.org

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