Sunday, June 16, 2013

Amelia?

Watching the Amelia Earhart mystery unfold is the best thing in my life right now. The suspense is killing me. So donate to the Earhart Project to speed up the investigation mmmkay? New details are surfacing that further pinpoint Earhart's crash site to an exact location near an uninhabited island in the southwestern Pacific.

A number of artifacts have been discovered on the island throughout the years, suggesting that Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, made a forced landing on the nearby coral reef, became castaways and eventually died. Improvised tools, shoe remnants, a pocketknife, shells that had been cut open, a glass cosmetic jar, makeup, and fragments of bone (maybe human) have all been found. Researchers believe they have identified the substance in the glass jar as a type of ointment used to bleach skin, as Earhart was known to do.



In July 2012 an underwater search was commissioned with the quest of locating Amelia's plane. An "anomaly" was found approximately 600 feet below the surface. The anomaly appears to be the right size and shape of her aircraft and lines up with the Bevington photo. Seeing the Bevington photo for the first time was like seeing the only known video of Anne Frank for the first time. Equal parts creepy/weird/awesome/sad.



The photo appears to be of a large man-made object jutting out off the coast of the island, captured by British naval officer Eric Bevington in October 1937, only a few months after Earhart vanished. People believe that this is actually the landing gear from her plane (and what the 2012 photos captured on the sea floor depict).



According to researchers, the evidence found so far suggests a reasonable sequence of events (from Discovery.com):

• Earhart makes a safe landing on the reef and sends radio distress calls for at least five days.
• Before the seventh day, when Navy search planes arrive, rising tides and surf knock the plane off its landing gear and push it over the reef edge into the ocean, leaving a landing gear assembly (the Bevington Object) behind, jammed in the reef. Earhart and Noonan become castaways on the uninhabited, waterless atoll.
• The landing gear assembly stays jammed in the reef at least until October, when Bevington took the photo, but at some point it breaks free and sinks, ending up in the catchment area at 200 feet, where it was spotted in the video.
• After going over the edge, the airplane is battered by the surf and sinks within a few minutes in the shallow water just past the reef edge. Subsequent storms cause pieces of wreckage to wash ashore, where they are found and used by the island's later residents.
• Eventually, the fuselage goes over the cliff, hits the slope at the bottom of the cliff at 600 feet and skids for a ways before coming to rest more or less on its side, with the starboard-side wing stub sticking up.
Another expedition to the island is in the works and an estimated $3,000,000 is needed to be certain that it is Amelia's plane.

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