On July 2, 1937, during an attempt to complete a circumnavigational flight of the globe, Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Model 10 Electra vanished en route to Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean. Now, a team of researchers believes it has solved the 76-year-old mystery of her disappearance. Newser reports that a series of blurry sonar images taken off an uninhabited Pacific island may reveal the location of Earhart's aircraft.
The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery took the sonar images last summer during an expedition to Nikumaroro, a former British colony in the Pacific Ocean. Although the images are grainy, TIGHAR says they indicate an "anomaly" 600 feet below the ocean's surface.
"It looks unlike anything else in the sonar data," a TIGHAR bulletin on the organization's website reads. "It’s the right size, it’s the right shape, and it’s in the right place."
For more than a decade, researchers have been developing a theory that Earhart's Electra landed on the coral flats of the island before washing into the sea. If their theory is correct, "this is exactly what we would expect to see in just the place we would expect to see it," TIGHAR executive director Ric Gillespie told Deutsche Welle.
TIGHAR's next step is to raise the funds necessary to conduct an "independent comprehensive analysis" of the sonar data. Although they don't have enough money yet to make another trip to the island, they remain hopeful that the sonar images will put conspiracy theorists' speculation over Earhart's disappearance to rest.
"The better a piece of evidence looks, the harder you have to try to disqualify it," the TIGHAR bulletin says. "So far, the harder we’ve looked at this anomaly, the better it looks."