SALISBURY, Maryland —Investigation is set to continue later this year on a possible aircraft crash site with multiple characteristics of the Lockheed Electra 10E in which Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan disappeared on July 2, 1937.
Project Blue Angel is conducting the official investigation into this wreckage off the coast of Buka Island near Papua New Guinea.
William Snavely, Project Blue Angel director, has studied and researched the reported aircraft wreck site for the last 13 years. Snavely’s theory of what happened to Earhart traces her route from Lae, Papua New Guinea, the departure point of her final flight leg, rather than starting at her intended destination of Howland Island. He hypothesizes that due to low fuel, Earhart may have decided to turn back.
“The Buka Island wreck site was directly on Amelia and Fred’s flight path, and it is an area never searched following their disappearance,” said Snavely. “What we’ve found so far is consistent with the plane she flew.”
Papua New Guinea divers went down to the wreck site, approximately 100′ below the ocean surface, several times between 2005 and 2012 to survey the site for Snavely.
In August 2018, members of Snavely’s U.S. team conducted an investigation of the site. The team, led by former US Foreign Service Officer Richard Pruett, gathered measurements and other data to assist in evaluating the crash site.
While the complete data is still under review by experts, initial reports indicate that a piece of glass raised from the wreckage shares some consistencies with a landing light on the Lockheed Electra 10E.
“Amelia’s Electra had specific modifications done to it for this specific journey, and some of those unique modifications appear to be verified in the wreckage that’s been found,” said Jill Meyers, a pilot, aerospace engineer and Project Blue Angel’s public relations manager. “Every check box has been checked so far, as to if this is her plane or not.”
Project Blue Angel is planning another expedition to Buka in the spring that will include additional experts and advanced imaging equipment. Along with the expense that comes with a research project of this caliber, the team faces the challenge of an unstable underwater environment. Years of rough water and earthquakes are eroding the wreckage.
“While there is no way to be certain yet that this is definitively Amelia Earhart’s Electra, the crash site may hold the clues to solving one of the world’s greatest mysteries,” said Snavely. “Amelia and Fred belong to history now; thus, they belong to all of us. It’s time for us to come together and rewrite history.”