Earhart mystery solved?

On the 75th anniversary of Amelia Earhart's final flight, an expedition team says it can find her missing plane

Published July 2, 2012 1:28PM (EDT)

   (<a href='http://www.flickr.com/photos/norcaljeff/'>Jeff (norcaljeff)</a>)
(Jeff (norcaljeff))

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

On the 75th anniversary of her final flight, an expedition team is setting off from Hawaii in search of new answers surrounding the disappearance of US aviator Amelia Earhart.

Global Post

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) is on a mission to find Earhart's plane, the Lockheed Electra, ABC reported, and its researchers will be diving for clues around Nikumaroro, an uninhabited island in the western Pacific Ocean.

The team believes that Earhart crashed, and survived for days, on the island – after taking off from Papua New Guinea on July 2, 1937, with her navigator Fred Noonan.

TIGHAR leader Richard Gillespie told Hawaii News Now: "We think the Earhart plane is there. We've got the right people. We have the right technology. We have the right support."

Earhart, who became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1932, had been looking to become the first woman to fly around the world. When the pair vanished in the South Pacific, they had circumnavigated their way around three-quarters of the Equator, the BBC reported.

In a radio message, Earhart communicated that her plane's gas was running low, but a widespread air and sea search failed to find out what happened.

Using high-tech underwater equipment in a mission costing some 2 million dollars, TIGHAR researchers say they hope to find the wreckage of the Lockheed Electra in a month – diving in deep water off the west end of Nikumaroro, in the Republic of Kiribati.

Gillespie said navy search planes flew over this spot decades ago, Hawaii News Now reported.

"Over the ensuing days, the airplane was apparently washed over the edge of the reef by rising tides and surf so by the time the navy got there, the plane was gone," Gillespie said.

By Amanda Morrow

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