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New Search Announced for Amelia Earhart Plane

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Amelia Earthart: Inspiration and Mystery
Book Review: Amelia Earthart, Young Air Pioneer

March 25, 2012
A new search will soon be under way for more clues to the fate of Amelia Earhart, the famed aviator who disappeared on a round-the-world flight more than 70 years ago.

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery announced for a new search to tiny Nikumaroro Island, in the South Pacific, based on further analysis of a photograph taken place a few years ago. Scientists now think that they see traces of an airplane in one of several photos taken on earlier expeditions in and around the island.

Earhart, one of America's most recognizable faces in the 1930s, was known as a pioneer in aviation and in women's achievements. She was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean by herself. She was trying to amplify that achievement when she took off from California on July 2, 1937.

With Earhart at the controls at Fred Noonan the navigator, the Lockheed Electra soared through air for many hours, landing and refueling at New Guinea, but never made it to Howland Island, deep in the South Pacific.

No trace of the plane or its inhabitants has been found, despite a massive search in 1937 and several well-publicized searches in the decades since. In recent years, investigators have sought clues on another island, Nukumaroro, which was formerly known as Gardner Island and is relatively not far from Howland Island. Search teams found bone fragments on that island, but they were later found to belong to an animal.

The new search was prompted by the re-examination of a 1937 photo that, when enhanced, shows what looks like the wheel of a plane submerged in the water off Nikumaroro Island.

The search will begin on July 2, on the 75th anniversary of Amelia's departure. Robotic submarines will search the area. Discovery Channel crews will be on hand to film document the findings.

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