One of the most intriguing mysteries that each student encounters in our history classes is the disappearance of the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, Amelia Earhart in 1937. Earhart had disappeared after reporting difficulty finding their intended destination at Howland Island. Instead, many believed she landed with her navigator, Fred Noonan on a tiny island now called Nikumaroro where they initially survived and later died from starvation. The coral atoll the pair supposedly landed on provided a space for them to send out distress signals from Earhart’s Lockheed Electra until it was swept out by the tides.

There is however, still contention because despite the evidence, it remains circumstantial without the location of the Lockheed. Aside from the conspiracy theories of Earhart’s “spy plane,” and her supposed second life as Irene Bolam, some believe she was also a POW, held by the Japanese. It is believed that Earhart crashed on Marshall Island (then a colony of Japan), something that the island’s residents say is a fact they have known since her disappearance in 1937.


While the intended exploration off the Nikumaroro atoll (then known as Gardner Island) will not begin until July, a new expedition sponsored by Parker Aerospace is taking place off the Mili as well as Jaluit atolls in the Marshall Islands. Despite the evidence gathered by TIGHAR (the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery) including the aluminum scrap known as the “Miami Patch,” the researchers arrived Sunday to explore the possibility of finding Earhart’s final resting place in Marshall Island. Jon Jeffery, the director of technology and business development at Parker Aerospace stated that they would be bringing “more sophisticated equipment” to find other pieces of Earhart’s plane. Interestingly enough, what is being reported is based off the fact that the “aluminum cover” and part of a landing-gear wheel was found there. These pieces were found in the Mili atoll, found using metal detectors that scoped the area based on stories told by the Marshall Islands’ residents.



The evidence is rather circumstantial but is the first piece of evidence that could suggest Earhart’s Lockheed could have indeed crashed 800 miles from its destination in the Marshall Islands. Unlike the “Miami Patch,” which researchers concluded was from Earhart’s Lockheed by matching it to an exact model of the Electra compounded with photographic evidence of the patch, these two metal pieces were made under the assumption there could have been no other Lockheed planes in the vicinity. In addition to this soft piece of evidence, Jeffery seems to be sure that Earhart and Noonan were treated in a Japanese underground hospital after their “crash.” It probably does not help that every article containing this piece of information is an exact copy of the next. What has prompted this search through Marshall Island? Could they have evidence that has yet to be released? Could Earhart and Noonan really have made it that far off their goal when there were many other islands they could have chosen to land at?

Other evidence, namely the now-famous “Miami Patch,” compounded with bits of glass, parts of shoes and other objects that could not have originated from the island, along with gathered stories have led researchers have revitalized interest in finding where Earhart and Noonan disappeared. However, is Parker Aerospace wasting their resources by looking in Marshall Island?


Sonar pictures taken of the Nikumaroro atoll in 2012 by TIGHAR revealed a mass similar to the dimensions of Earhart’s Lockheed was found to be lurking in the waters about 600 feet down, as well as the large amount of evidence, albeit circumstantial, found during TIGHAR’s multiple expeditions to Nikumaroro. The folks at TIGHAR will be able to confirm whether the anomaly is indeed the missing Lockheed Electra once it begins its exploration of the sea depths, but until then, we continue to follow Parker Aerospace’s search for Earhart and Noonan.


We will also continue to ask the question that could explain why there has not been any solid confirmation of Earhart’s location, could their plane have crashed and sank miles away from their destination? After all, let’s not forget that Nikumaroro is a good 350 miles away from Howland Island, which would seem far for someone who was quickly running out of fuel. Noonan’s knowledge of the area may have been what led them elsewhere due to the fact that Howland Island did have a number of islands located around the general vicinity.

The legacy Earhart left behind as an American hero who inspired the citizens during a time where the country was hard-pressed for any degree of happiness could explain just why Amelia continues to intrigue the general public. How can we assume such a symbol for American determination and courage be extinguished by the Pacific Ocean when there is other evidence pointing towards her surviving her crash/emergency landing?

ABOUT >> Mac Lemons
  • ACCOUNT NAME >> paranoidlemons
  • BIO >> Mac is a history lover, avid harry potter fan, and occasionally pretends to join the circus. While flying on fabrics and searching for magic are her true passions, her civilian life forces her to walk around a lot.
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