Explorers believe they have found Amelia Earhart’s long-lost plane. Not everyone is convinced

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The flow11:27 a.m.Explorers say they found Amelia Earhart’s plane

A deep-sea exploration company claims to have found the wreckage of Amelia Earhart’s plane, reviving a mystery that dates back to the famous pilot’s disappearance in 1937.

“She’s America’s favorite missing person…she was a fantastic person, a pioneer in aviation, an early advocate for women’s rights and a wonderful author,” said Tony Romeo, CEO from Deep Sea Vision (DSV). said Reuters in a recent interview.

“And so, if we can help bring closure to this story and bring Amelia home, we would be very excited,” he said.

Earhart was a record pilot during her lifetime, having become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1932. She disappeared during an attempted round-the-world flight in 1937, during a jump of approximately 4 400 kilometers from Papua New. From Guinea to Howland Island in the central Pacific Ocean.

No trace of Earhart, his navigator, Fred Noonan, or the Lockheed Electra they piloted has ever been found.

WATCH | Explorers believe they have found Amelia Earhart’s long-lost plane:

Explorers think they’ve found Amelia Earhart’s long-lost plane

Exploration company Deep Sea Vision has released a sonar image of what appears to be an aircraft on the Pacific seabed. CEO Tony Romeo says there’s a good chance it’s the wreckage of Amelia Earhart’s last flight.

Romeo said his team looked at its flight path, altitude and reported flight conditions that day. They also examined six radio calls Earhart made during the flight, during which she reported she was low on fuel.

“Each of these radio calls gives us a very important clue about what she was doing and what she was thinking, her intentions,” Romeo said.

Using this information to define a search area, the DSV team then spent three months searching approximately 13,000 km². from the bottom of the ocean with a state-of-the-art submersible vehicle. The result is a sonar image of something resting 5,000 meters below the surface, which Romeo says is similar in size and shape to Earhart’s plane.

“The two vertical stabilizers at the rear are very clear in the sonar image, and they are very distinctive from Amelia Earhart’s plane,” he said, adding that the specific area is very flat and sandy, so to see anything protruding from the ocean floor. is unusual.

A woman sits on top of a plane, on a runway.
Amelia Earhart with her Lockheed Electra in Miami in 1937. (The Miami Herald / Associated Press)

Aviation expert Dorothy Cochrane said it was certainly an intriguing image, but not enough to declare the mystery solved.

“It’s a sonar image … it just doesn’t give us enough detail to be able to say, you know, this is Amelia’s plane,” said Cochrane, a curator in the Smithsonian National’s aeronautics department. Air and Space Museum.

“You have to go back and just identify that object and say, well, it is or it’s not…. If we get good photographs, you know, that goes a long way toward (identifying it).” , she said. The flow.

Romeo’s team plans to return to the site to gather more information, hoping to confirm their theory. But he warned that such an expedition would be a logistical challenge and could take several years. Romeo said the object was about 100 miles west of Howland Island, but did not disclose the precise location.

Earhart’s radio calls offer clues

Immediately after Earhart’s disappearance, a massive search failed to turn up any clues. Over the decades, theories have included speculation that she was apprehended by Japan or that Earhart faked her own disappearance and lived her life under a false identity.

Cochrane said such theories are “not based on any facts.” Based on Earhart’s radio calls over the past few hours, she believes the plane simply ran out of fuel.

“We know she was on her way and was desperately trying to find this little island,” Cochrane said.

A woman wearing an aviation cap and glasses looks at the camera.
Earhart became the first woman to cross the Atlantic solo in 1932. (Associated Press)

“There are various reasons why you might miss this little island when you arrive there, in the morning sun, after a 20-hour flight… I really believe they were nearby.”

Romeo said the object in the sonar image appears largely intact, which could match how Earhart might have put the plane on the water.

“She would have tried to land the plane in the water on the surface, as gently as possible,” he told Reuters.

“That probably would have kept the structure of the plane intact. And then, as it filled with water, it would have slowly sunk, then spiraled down to the seafloor.”

If they confirm it is indeed the Electra, Romeo said DSV will explore the possibility of bringing it to the surface and restoring it.

WATCH: Footage of Earhart emerges 80 years after her disappearance:

Images of aviator Amelia Earhart emerge 80 years after her disappearance

Amelia Earhart poses for photos shortly before her ill-fated attempt to circumnavigate the world

Potentially this could end up in a museum like Cochrane.

“We already have Earhart’s Lockheed Vega, in which she became the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean solo and nonstop, so we would be interested in continuing to tell her story,” Cochrane said.

As a pilot herself, Cochrane said she and many other women felt like they were standing on Earhart’s shoulders. She said Earhart’s story continues to inspire people today.

“There is no doubt that the mystery helps keep his name in the spotlight,” she said.

But when people talk about mystery, they also talk about Earhart’s pioneering accomplishments and how her story continues to inspire people today, she said.

“I think if we can just resolve that, then we can add that to the mix … and think about his career as a whole,” Cochrane said.

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