An expedition team launched last month to search for the wreckage of Amelia Earhart’s aircraft claims it has shot high-definition video that shows man-made debris in the area where organizers theorize Earhart crash-landed her Lockheed Electra 75 years ago.
The team behind the search effort is The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (Tighar), a group comprised of researchers who believe Earhart likely made an emergency landing on the island of Nikumaroro during her attempt to circumnavigate the globe in 1937, instead of running out of fuel short of Howland Island, which remains the predominant theory.
Last month Tighar researchers headed to Nikumaroro to undertake a $2.2 million search effort — funded by the Discovery Channel and Lockheed Martin, among others — that involved the use of underwater robots with sonar and high-definition cameras to inspect the area. After encountering a number of setbacks due to the challenging physical nature of the coral reef-filled waters, the team headed home, with no news of new evidence regarding the final resting place of Earhart or her aircraft.
Tighar researchers, however, claim that a review of high-definition video footage collected during the search has yielded the finding of man-made debris in the area. The group says that further analysis of the footage is needed, but that the debris field is located in the region that matches that of a 1937 photo Tighar team members say shows what could be the landing gear of Earhart’s aircraft. The object of interest in the photo is approximately the size of a grain of rice.
Many remain skeptical of the group’s findings to date, as well as the likelihood of uncovering the mystery of Earhart’s disappearance so many years after her ill-fated flight. Prior expeditions to the area have not resulted in the finding of any wreckage.