Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Historical mysteries: Where is Earheart?

Aviatrix (I love that word) Amelia Earhart vanished en rout to remote Howland Island in a flight around the world in 1974.  A huge search found no trace of Amelia, her Lockheed Electra, or navigator Fred Noonan.  People have been searching and theorizing ever since.  (A conspiracy theory that Amelia was on a spy mission and landed on a Japanese-held island, where she was executed, is impossible: the Electra did not have the gas to reach any Japanese territory from her last known position.) 
There are a few islands she could have reached. Did she possibly, in the vastness of the Pacific, see tiny Nikumaroro and ditch the Electra just offshore? A photograph taken on the island in 1937, enhanced with modern techniques, shows an odd object that might be a landing gear.  A privately funded project, with endorsements from the U.S. government, is now heading out to track down that possibility.  Can they? Even if the Electra landed there, waves, tides, and silt might have dismantled and buried it.  And who knows what could have happened to two human bodies, assuming they survived the landing at all?   But I wish the searchers luck. A woman that special deserves a proper sendoff.

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