Expert team believe they have found Amelia Earhart’s aircraft

Marine experts view computer screen vision of possible Amelia Earhart aircraft.
Photo Credit: PRNewsfoto/Deep Sea Vision
Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
5 Min Read

A team of dedicated underwater archaeologists and marine robotics experts believe may have finally unraveled one of modern history’s greatest mysteries – the disappearance of aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart.

Through an exhaustive deep-water search, they have uncovered a compelling sonar image which they say could provide vital clues to Earhart’s fate.

The Discovery

Located westward of Earhart’s projected landing point, in an area of the Pacific Ocean previously unexplored for wreckage, the sonar image exhibits contours strikingly similar to the unique features of Earhart’s Lockheed Electra aircraft.

Spearheaded by Deep Sea Vision (DSV), a Charleston-based marine robotics company led by CEO Tony Romeo, the expedition pursued the missing aircraft employing the “Date Line theory” proposed by Liz Smith in 2010.

Sonar image side by side with Earhart’s Electra at scale (PRNewsfoto/Deep Sea Vision)

DSV’s CEO Tony Romeo said: “We always felt that she [Earhart] would have made every attempt to land the aircraft gently on the water, and the aircraft signature that we see in the sonar image suggests that may be the case.”

Romeo hopes they can answer that question very soon. “We’re thrilled to have made this discovery at the tail end of our expedition, and we plan to bring closure to a great American story.”

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The Date Line Theory

Originally theorized in 2010 by Liz Smith, a former NASA employee and amateur pilot, the Date Line theory attributes Earhart’s disappearance to simply forgetting to turn the calendar back one day as she flew over the International Date Line.

Smith’s theory suggests that Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, may have miscalculated their navigation over the International Date Line, resulting in a westward navigational error.

By simply forgetting to turn back the date from July 3 to July 2 as they flew across the Date Line, creating a westward navigational error of 60 miles.

Deep water sonar – nicknamed Miss Millie – on the surface preparing for launch. Each dive lasts approximately 36 hours during which time the system searches completely independently and only returns to the surface when a battery swap is needed. (PRNewsfoto/Deep Sea Vision)

Hence, this error, attributed to overlooking the need to adjust the calendar back by one day, could explain why the aircraft veered off course.

Motivated by a shared passion for aviation and intrigued by Smith’s hypothesis, Romeo and his team embarked on an ambitious mission to investigate the theory further.

Utilizing state-of-the-art technology, including the HUGIN 6000 autonomous underwater vehicle, the DSV team meticulously combed through vast stretches of the Pacific Ocean floor, covering an unprecedented 5,200 square miles.

DSV’s innovative approach, coupled with the unparalleled capabilities of their equipment, enabled them to achieve what previous endeavors had not.

By modifying the side scan sonar to search wider swaths, they significantly enhanced their search efficiency, ultimately leading to the groundbreaking discovery.

Deep Sea Vision team (L to R) Mahesh Pichandi, Harald Aagedal, Craig Wallace, Tony Romeo, John Haig, Corey Friend, Lloyd Romeo Mahesh – Chennai, India Harald – Oslo, Norway Craig – Mintlaw, Scotland John – Aberdeen,Scotland Tony – Charleston, South Carolina Corey Friend – Sisters, Oregon (PRNewsfoto/Deep Sea Vision)

The Road Ahead

The fate of Amelia Earhart has been the source of speculation and conspiracy theories since her mysterious disappearance in 1937.

DSV believes they are one step away from closure to this great mystery and will be keeping all other information, including the exact location, strictly confidential.

While Romeo is very optimistic about their find, he acknowledges that there was a great deal of internal debate about whether to release the sonar image publicly.

Many prominent authorities have been working to validate DSV’s findings, including Dorothy Cochrane, Aeronautics Curator at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, who stated:

“We are intrigued with DSV’s initial imagery and believe it merits another expedition in the continuing search for Amelia Earhart’s aircraft near Howland Island.”

While the exact location of the find remains confidential, the implications of this discovery are profound. As the team works tirelessly to validate their findings, perhaps the possibility of finally unlocking the mystery surrounding Earhart’s disappearance looms tantalizingly close.

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A team of underwater archaeologists and marine robotics experts believe they have located the remains of pioneer aviator Amelia Earhart's Lockheed aircraft
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