Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Has Amelia Earhart’s Plane Really Been Found? Experts Urge Caution on New Claim

HomeU.S.Has Amelia Earhart's Plane Really Been Found? Experts Urge Caution on New...

NEW YORK – The disappearance of famed aviator Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 during an attempt to circumnavigate the globe remains one of history’s most enduring mysteries. So when headlines emerged this week proclaiming that her Lockheed Electra 10E plane had finally been discovered, it naturally caused a big splash.

However, experts are urging caution, saying it is too premature to draw conclusions about whether the grainy sonar image captured by a new deep ocean exploration venture really shows the wreckage of Earhart’s plane. Here are six key things to know about the latest developments in the 85-year-old mystery:

  1. The image was captured by unproven sonar technology

The sonar image was recorded by Deep Sea Vision, a new company founded by pilot and real estate investor Tony Romeo. The company undertook a 100-day expedition in the central Pacific, near where Earhart disappeared, using an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) equipped with advanced sonar systems. However, experts note that sonar imagery has limitations, especially when captured by new, unproven technology.

Sonar images are not photographs,” said David Jourdan, an engineer whose company Nauticos has led three expeditions searching for Earhart. “The sound waves are at a low frequency, which means low resolution. It can be distorted by reflections, like taking a picture of a mirror.”

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Other sonar images that seemed promising have turned out to be geological formations or other objects after closer analysis, Jourdan noted.

  1. The object’s identity has not been confirmed

Deep Sea Vision captured the image unexpectedly while reviewing stored data from an earlier phase of their expedition. By then, it was too late to return to the site and analyze the object further using the AUV’s camera, which had malfunctioned earlier.

Without closer visual confirmation, experts remain skeptical about whether the object genuinely shows wreckage from Earhart’s Electra plane. “The proportions aren’t quite right,” said Jourdan, noting differences between the object’s swept-back wings and the Electra’s straight wings.

  1. The object does not clearly resemble Earhart’s plane

Other analysts echoed Jourdan’s assessment, saying the object captured in the grainy image does not clearly match the shape and proportions of Earhart’s customized Electra 10E.

“For the wings of an Electra to fold rearward as shown in the sonar image, the entire center section would have to fail at the wing/fuselage junctions,” said officials from The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), a group that has investigated Earhart’s disappearance. “That’s just not possible.”

  1. The location aligns with Earhart’s planned route
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While they urge caution about the object’s identity, some experts note the location where Deep Sea Vision captured the image generally aligns with Earhart’s planned route for her attempted around-the-world flight in 1937. After taking off from Lae, New Guinea, her next stop was tiny Howland Island, located over 2,500 miles away in the central Pacific.

The image location is fairly close to Howland Island, lending some credence to the possibility that the object could relate to Earhart’s disappearance while searching for the remote island. However, the lack of visual confirmation means the location match remains circumstantial.

  1. Earhart’s fate continues to captivate the public

The massive media coverage and public interest in the latest finding demonstrates Amelia Earhart’s enduring legacy as one of the most fascinating missing persons cases in history.

Earhart was a pioneering pilot who set numerous flying records and a prominent public figure when she attempted her ambitious circumnavigation in 1937 with Noonan. Her loss during such a bold feat, compounded by the lack of definitive evidence about her fate, has kept her story alive for decades.

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The allure of finally solving the mystery helps explain the tidal wave of attention to new developments like the Deep Sea Vision sonar image, despite the remaining questions and analysis required.

  1. Further investigation is needed to confirm the finding

Deep Sea Vision acknowledges their sonar data alone is insufficient to conclusively determine whether the object is Earhart’s long-lost Electra plane. The company plans a follow-up expedition later this year to revisit the underwater site with improved camera equipment, which could provide visual confirmation.

“We want to go back with everything in place, all of our resources ready to go, because it’s still a mystery,” said Tony Romeo of Deep Sea Vision, noting he remains hopeful but not certain their finding will solve the Earhart enigma.

Most experts agree it is too early to draw definitive conclusions. But if further analysis does substantiate the sonar object as Earhart’s plane, it would finally end decades of speculation over the doomed aviator’s disappearance. For now, the keys to unlocking this 85-year-old mystery still remain tantalizingly out of reach, underwater and shrouded in darkness.

Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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