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Recently, the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) researchers revealed that a piece of Amelia Erhart’s misplaced aircraft has been identified in Nikumaroro, an island in the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati. However, this is for the first time that a relic from the debris has been directly associated with Earhart’s last expedition, in which it was trying to revolve the Earth at the equator, and sheds new light on the 77-year-old aviation mystery.
A 19-inch-wide by 23-inch-long piece was discovered by the researchers in 1991 and is strongly believed to be a metal piece installed on the window of Earhart’s Lockheed Electra aircraft during her eight-day stay in Miami that was its 4th stop on the journey. A photograph taken on 1st July, 1937 on TIGHAR’s site from The Miami Herald, shows the aircraft intact with the metal patch.
After identifying the patch in the photograph, researchers compared it with the Lockheed Electra aircraft at Wichita Air Services in Newton, Kansas, Discovery News said. It matched the plans and the Electra’s structure. However, International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery said, the patch was a field modification whose “complex fingerprint of dimensions, proportions, materials and rivet patterns was as unique to Earhart’s Electra as a fingerprint is to an individual.” The sheet’s purpose was to take in “celestial observations” from thousands of feet in the sky.
The plane was evidently dematerialized on 2nd July 1937, after which the pilot has prompted a wide range of conspiracy theories, including the rumor that Earhart assumed a new identity on a remote island in the Pacific. The Earhart and its navigator Fred Noonan didn’t actually crash into the Pacific Ocean, Discovery News said. The pair had to to make a forced landing on the Nikumaroro’s coral reef after running out of fuel roughly 350 miles from the Howland Island, TIGHAR suggests.
TIGHAR has conducted a series of expeditions to Nikumaroro, where researchers have discovered several artifacts they believe may be linked to Earhart: a jar of anti-freckle cream, a woman’s compact, and buttons and a zipper from a flight jacket. Ric Gillespie, executive director of TIGHAR, in an interview with Discovery News, “Earhart sent radio distress calls for at least five nights before the Electra was washed into the ocean by rising tides and surf.”
The British research team took the photograph in October 1937; only three months after Earhart disappeared depicted that the piece could very well be a part of a strange object jutting from the water on a close by reef. In 2013, the TIGHAR’s last expedition, sonar imagery spotted an object 600 feet off the base of an offshore cliff, where the organization believes the Electra drifted into the ocean. The “setback” was analyzed by a sonar data post-processor based in Honolulu, identifying it to be the right size and shape to be part of Earhart’s aircraft. The organization believes that the rest of the Electra’s remains are buried deep off the west end of the island.
The recent reports revealed that International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), which has long been investigating the Earhart’s disappearance, will make another journey to Nikumaroro in order to further investigate the setback using remotely operated vehicle technology. The organization is currently seeking funds to make this journey happen, and to resolve the mysterious surroundings of Amelia Earhart’s early disappearance.