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The Student News Site of Great Neck North High School

Guide Post

The Student News Site of Great Neck North High School

Guide Post

Amelia Earhart’s Long-Lost Plane Discovered?

The events of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance during her attempt to circumnavigate the world has long captivated the world. Now, new sonar imagery appears to depict the famous aviator’s plane, with the potential to solve this mystery once and for all. Is this truly the last remnant of her legendary flight, or just another piece of ocean debris?

What does solving a decades-long disappearance look like? In Amelia Earhart’s case, it might look like a grainy sonar image of the ocean floor.

Amelia Earhart’s disappearance has long been one of the greatest mysteries, spawning countless conspiracy theories and potential explanations. Her famous flight around the world has captivated the world as the skilled aviator and her navigator, Fred Noonan, mysteriously disappeared.

Sonar imagery released by Deep Sea Vision, believed to be the wreckage of Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed 10-E Electra, the plane she was flying on her last flight. Further investigation of this site is needed to confirm this discovery, which could reveal key details about her disappearance (Credit: @deep.sea.vision on Instagram).

As of a few days ago, the fate of the pair may have been solved with the release of a sonar photo of an anomaly on the floor of the Pacific Ocean. Deep Sea Vision, the underwater exploration company that posted their discovery of this anomaly while mapping the ocean floor, believes that the shape resembles a Lockheed 10-E Electra, the very plane Earhart disappeared in during her flight.

“Some people call it one of the greatest mysteries of all time, I think it actually is the greatest mystery of all time,” Deep Sea Vision CEO Tony Romeo said. “We have an opportunity to bring closure to one of the greatest American stories ever.”

Romeo hopes to return to this site to investigate the anomaly in hopes of confirming the discovery. With the aid of a camera mounted on a remotely operated vehicle, the crew could further investigate the anomaly, as well as begin discussions on potentially raising it to the surface.

“This discovery is extremely interesting due to the fact that there has been a limited amount of information discovered about Amelia Earhart. She is one of the most famous American pilots and her disappearance was bizarre and unknown,” junior Danielle Gardner said. “Technology and science in today’s society continues to become more advanced, and new discoveries like this are made each day that many people would deem impossible.”

“I am truly shocked by this discovery, though I kind of find it odd that it took 87 years for researchers to find out more detail about the plan,” said junior Jade Nabavian.

There is also a chance that this sonar image is nothing more than an anomaly, instead of the wreck of Earhart’s plane. Most notably, the image lacks the twin engines characteristic of a Lockheed Electra, though conclusions cannot be drawn solely from sonar imagery, especially as changes such as these could be due to damage sustained by the artifact.

This makes further investigation and confirmation vital.

“While it is possible that this could be a plane and maybe even Amelia’s plane, it is too premature to say that definitively. It could also be noise in the sonar data, something geologic, or some other plane,” said Andrew Pietruszka, an underwater archaeologist at the University of California, San Diego. “Until you physically take a look at this, there’s no way to say for sure what that is.”

If this image does depict Earhart’s plane, it could be one of the few remnants that offer any insight into her disappearance.

Even from the beginning of her career, Earhart broke records in aviation history, including being the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. From there, she set her sights on a more ambitious accomplishment, setting off with her navigator to circumnavigate the world on June 1, 1937.

Amelia Earhart in front of her Lockheed 10-E Electra, the very plane she and her navigator, Fred Noonan, would later go missing in during their attempt to circumnavigate the world in 1937 (Credit: National Geographic).

They flew 22,000 miles a month later, with 7,000 remaining before they fully circled back to their starting point of Oakland, California. They departed from Lae, New Guinea after refueling, aiming for their next refueling station at Howard Island, a small island in the Pacific Ocean.

However, they never reached this destination due to a combination of transmission issues and low fuel. Though Earhart’s radio transmission strength increased as she approached the island, she eventually lost contact and disappeared.

As such, this image proves compelling due to its proximity to Howard Island, where Earhart was confirmed to be near before her disappearance.

Following her loss of transmission, the Navy and Coast Guard commenced one of the most expensive search efforts in aviation history, covering up to 250,000 square miles of ocean before Earhart and Noonan were officially declared dead 18 months later, on Jan. 5, 1939.

Ultimately, the leading theory about the events of Earhart’s disappearance is that she and Noonan ran out of fuel near Howard Island and crashed into the Pacific Ocean. However, various other theories have developed, from being taken prisoner or reaching uninhabited islands.

 

Amelia Earhart, photographed in the cockpit of her Lockheed Electra (Credit: National Geographic).

Regardless, this discovery has the unique potential to solve Earhart’s mysterious disappearance.

“This discovery is intriguing because it provides a lead on Earhart’s story,” sophomore Ethan Lam said.

With this discovery has been a resurgence in interest in Amelia Earhart’s story, her life and disappearance prevailing well into the 21st century. And with plans to further investigate the site, we may soon know what happened to this legendary aviator.

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About the Contributor
Gloria Hsia, Managing Editor
Gloria Hsia is one of Guide Post’s managing editors. She is an officer of several clubs, including DECA and Art Club. In addition, she plays doubles on the girls’ badminton team. Outside of school, Gloria enjoys doing various mediums of art, reading random books, and contemplating existential questions in her free time. She also likes anything space related (and Highland Cows).

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