A search party set sail for a remote Pacific island this weekend to look for clues about the fate of Amelia Earhart.
The American aviation pioneer disappeared 80 years ago during an attempt to fly around the world. In the latest National Geographic-sponsored expedition seeking Earhart’s remains, a group of forensic dogs will be brought to the island of Nikumaroro to sniff for human bones.
Earhart was already a famous aviator by the time she set off for her round-the-world flight in June 1937. Among her many other records, she was the first woman, and second person after Charles Lindbergh, to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1932. Her flight around the world wouldn’t have been the first, but it would have been the longest, following a 29,000-mile (47,000 kilometers) route close to the equator. [In Photos: Searching for Aviator Amelia Earhart]
With her navigator Fred Noonan, Earhart departed east of Oakland, California, in a modified twin-engine Lockheed Electra 10E. They were last seen on July 2, 1937, in Lae, New Guinea, as they ventured toward Howland Island in one of the last legs of the journey.
The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Itasca had been waiting at Howland Island to offer radio assistance and a smoke signal so that the flyers could better locate the mile-wide strip of land in the Pacific. But communication was spotty, and Earhart’s last transmissions indicate she thought she was near her destination but couldn’t find it and was running out of fuel.
Powerpoint presentation given by TIGHAR Executive Director Ric Gillespie at The Collider in Asheville, NC on August 5, 2016 (YouTube.com/TIGHAR)
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