stuff - Seventy-three years after the aircraft flown by aviatrix Amelia Earhart went missing, the wreckage of a plane some claim is hers has been found in deep water 800 kilometres east of where she was last seen.
But claims that the Lockheed Electra – with the remains of two humans in it – is lying in the Solomon Seas, off the west coast of the island of Buka in Papua New Guinea, have provoked derision from professional Earhart hunters, who believe she got further.
"It is causing a lot of excitement here," journalist Stain Sawa, from PNG's National Broadcasting Corporation, said yesterday.
Although he has yet to see it himself, he says experts say the plane is an Electra, the type Earhart was flying when she disappeared. "The plane is still intact but is partly covered by coral reef."
The fate of the American celebrity flier and her navigator Fred Noonan has been an enduring mystery since they took off from Lae, in New Guinea, on July 2, 1937, for Howland Atoll, an uninhabited United States island 3000 kilometres southwest of Honolulu.
Some claim she fell into Japanese hands and was taken prisoner and killed as a spy, while others say she crashed on the island of Nikumaroro in Kiribati and died there.
Tighar, a foundation based in the US state of Delaware, has a contract with Discovery Television to explore Nikumaroro for Earhart, and claims it has found evidence.
Executive director Ric Gillespie said that while Buka would have been on the route Earhart flew, Tighar believed it could prove she got much further. "Someone finds an Earhart plane at least once a month," he said from Delaware.
The find at Buka, which is at the northern end of the province of Bougainville, has turned into a political drama with fears that an American group is trying to take as much of the plane as it can.
Local politicians have become involved and an expedition is to be mounted next month in a bid to confirm the identity of the plane.
It lies in waters up to 40 metres deep.
The Earhart mystery has had a tenuous New Zealand link.
In 1940, a British colonial ship, Viti, took 17 New Zealand soldiers and radio operators to the Gilbert Islands to act as coastwatchers. After dropping the men off, the ship went on to Nikumaroro, where they found two sets of human bones.
They packed them into a wooden sextant box. Back in Suva, a doctor concluded that one set must have belonged to a white man. They closed the box and the war went on.
The box has never been found but it has long been rumoured that it is in the vast attic at Government House, Suva.
As for the New Zealanders, October marks the 70th anniversary of their execution by Japanese soldiers on Tarawa atoll.
NOTE: Below are previous posts on Amelia Earhart...Lon
Originally posted 10/8/2007
Amelia Earhart Mystery May Soon Be Solved
honoluluadvertiser - Archaeological researcher Gary Quigg thinks he's solved the mystery of what happened to Amelia Earhart 70 years ago — and he thinks the answer might lie on an island in the Pacific Ocean.
"I am sure we are looking in the right spot," Quigg said during a visit last week to the Aviation Museum of Kentucky in Lexington. "I think eventually we will find the smoking gun that it takes to conclusively say this is where the flight ended."
Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan disappeared in July 1937 and have never been found.
Quigg, 45, is an archaeological researcher who spent a month on Nikumaroro Island this summer looking for clues as a member of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery.
Previously, another team that went there found aluminum that could have come from Earhart's plane, along with pieces of a shoe.
The Lockheed Electra Flying Laboratory that Earhart flew on her doomed around-the-world flight was funded, in part, by the Purdue Research Foundation. Earhart had been a women's career counselor and visiting instructor at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., for two years before the flight.
Nikumaroro is in the Phoenix Islands, southwest of Hawaii. It is three miles long and 1.5 miles wide.
Some historians dispute the evidence, but Quigg disagrees.
He said the Navy sent a battleship with observation planes to the area shortly after Earhart disappeared because of radio transmissions on her frequency.
"The historical evidence really points to this island," Quigg said.
Originally posted 11/4/2009
Coverup: Amelia Earhart Died in Japanese Camp According to Relative
nevadaappeal - Wally Earhart of Carson City, the fourth cousin of Amelia Earhart, says the U.S. government continues to perpetrate a “massive coverup” about her mysterious disappearance in the Pacific 72 years ago.
Because of the current surge in interest about the pilot's fate spurred by the recent release of the film “Amelia,” starring Richard Gere and Hilary Swank, it is time the American public “know the truth about Amelia's last days,” said Earhart, who will portray Abraham Lincoln as grand marshal of the Nevada Day parade today.
Amelia and her navigator, Fred Noonan, did not die as claimed by the government and the Navy when their twin-engine Electra plunged into the Pacific on July 2, 1937, Wally Earhart said in an interview.
“They died while in Japanese captivity on the island of Saipan in the Northern Marianas,” claims Earhart, a 38-year Carson City resident who often portrays Lincoln and other historical figures at appearances sponsored by groups such as the Nevada Historical Society.
“The Navy and the federal government would have you believe that Amelia and Noonan died on impact when their plane ran out of gas while attempting to reach Howland Island during their flight around the world,” Earhart said.
“Their airplane did crash into the Pacific, but instead of dying, the pair was rescued by a nearby Japanese fishing trawler. The Electra airplane was still floating and the Japanese hauled it aboard their ship in a large net.
“The Japanese then transported Amelia Earhart, Noonan and the airplane to Saipan. Noonan was beheaded by the Japanese and Amelia soon died from dysentery and other ailments,” Wally Earhart continued. He added that the Japanese troops on the island cut the airplane into scrap and tossed the remnants into the Pacific.
“There are many people, including Japanese military and Saipan natives, who witnessed all these events on the island,” said Earhart, who disputes claims by several historical researchers that Amelia Earhart and Noonan were instantly killed when their plane hit the water or they died of starvation and disease on either Howland Island, Gardner Island or in the Marshall Islands.
Why do the government and Navy continue to “cover up” the true facts of the case?
There are two major theories, according to Wally Earhart.
One is that the Navy was “inept” in not finding and rescuing the aviators after their aircraft crashed. The other is that President Franklin D. Roosevelt “wanted the whole matter kept under wraps,” Earhart said.
“Roosevelt had asked Earhart, a close family friend, to scout Japanese military installations in the Pacific during her flights in the region. This was kept a deep secret back in 1937 and it is being kept a secret today because Japan and the United States are good friends and military allies and the government doesn't want to drudge up old antagonisms,” Wally Earhart believes.
Earhart also noted that Amelia Earhart had close relations with Nevada.
“She loved Northern Nevada and often visited friends in Carson City and at Lake Tahoe. And she also made several flights across the state, stopping at a half-dozen cities,” Earhart added.
On one flight, while flying a small plane between Las Vegas and Salt Lake City in 1928, she was declared missing after making a forced landing in bad weather in a deserted area near the Nevada-Utah state line. Rescuers were called out when it was feared she had crashed into a mountain peak in isolated Lincoln County in eastern Nevada.
Searchers ultimately found Amelia sitting beside her downed plane. She was uninjured but the craft suffered a bent propeller and other minor damages.
In 1931, Earhart crossed Nevada in an autogiro, the forerunner of the helicopter, making landings at Wendover, Elko, Battle Mountain, Lovelock and Reno.
And in 1929, George Putnam, her future husband and millionaire heir to a publishing fortune, divorced his first wife, Dorothy, in Reno. Amelia Earhart and Putnam were married two years later.
The mystery surrounding the fate of Amelia Earhart may never be solved. It remains the most famous missing person case in United States history.
Claim: Amelia Earhart's Plane, Remains Found
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