American aviatrix Amelia Earhart, along with her place Lockheed Electra and co-pilot Fred Noonan, disappeared mysteriously near the Nikumaroro island in the western Pacific on June 2, 1937. She was on her second mission to circumnavigate the globe. Her disappearance remains a mystery even after 77 years. However, an aircraft recovery group claims to have found an aluminum sheet that could solve the mystery.
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The aluminum sheet was unique to her aircraft
In 1991, The International Historic Aircraft Recovery Group (TIGHAR) found a piece of metal on the Nikumaroro island. This sheet, measuring 19×23 inches, was made of the same material used on Amelia Earhart’s plane. After extensive research, TIGHAR said in a press release that the artifact matches the “pattern of rivets” on an aluminum patch that Earhart had installed on her aircraft in place of a custom window.
TIGHAR executive director Richard Gillespie said that Amelia Earhart stayed at Miami airport at the beginning of her second trip. In Miami, she had a special window in her plane replaced with an aluminum patch. The aircraft recovery group said that “the patch was as unique to her aircraft as a fingerprint is to an individual.” Could the aluminum sheet recovered by the group e this patch?
They analyzed several old photos, and with the help of a restored Lockheed Electra, tried to find how this piece of aluminum would have been attached. Examination revealed that the metal sheet “perfectly matched” the shape, size and pattern of the rivet holes. In the last 26 years, TIGHAR team had made 10 expeditions to Nikumaroro to investigate the mystery.
Amelia Earhart might have landed safely
There are dozens of theories around what happened to Amelia Earhart when she was on her global circumnavigation mission, but never got back. Some historians argue that the plane ran out of fuel and ended in the Pacific ocean. Others feel that the pilots probably died as castaways after surviving the crash. Another theory claims that the Japanese downed her plane around the Marshall Islands.
However, TIGHAR said that Earhart and her co-pilot landed safely on a reef on the deserted Nikumaroro island. She might have sent “radio distress calls” for about a week before her plane was washed into the Pacific by rising tides.