Amelia Earhart Mystery Investigation
Millions were out of work, people were wondering about the future of our nation, and the Great Depression was hitting hard. America may have been down on its luck — but boundary and record-breaking pilot Amelia Earhart was a woman determined to defy the hopelessness that the country was facing. Tragically, on July 2, 1937, Amelia Earhart and co-pilot Fred Noonan disappeared during a flight from New Guinea to Howland Island in the South Pacific, during a historic attempt to fly around the world. Their flight didn’t make it.
Amelia Earhart was nearing her 40th birthday when she decided she wanted to fly around the world. Her plane had been damaged the previous year, but she was determined to get the twin engine Lockheed Electra running again. She and Noonan departed for their trip from Miami on June 1. Their 29,000-mile journey was not an easy route. The two stopped in Lae New Guinea just to find out they had only covered 7,000 miles. They were going off of inaccurate maps, and their plane could only hold a certain amount of fuel. They took some unnecessary items off the plane, filled it with extra fuel, and began their last leg to Howland Island.
The island was essentially in the middle of the Pacific, and was difficult to reach via radio transitions. At 8:45 am, the Itasca (United States Coast Guard boat) received their last report from Earhart’s plane: “We are running north and south.” By July 19, rescue attempts for the plane had ceased, after spending $4 million on the search. A total of 250,000 square miles were covered while rescue missions searched for all evidence leading to the crash.
It has been 75 years since Earhart’s plane crashed – a flight that would have made her the first pilot ever to take the longest equatorial route around the globe. Since her departure, people have been honoring her courage each year. Her birthplace, Atchison, Kansas, has been turned into a memorial ground of all her accomplishments. Today we still celebrate her accomplishments — and this March, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the State Department’s support of a new search to solve the mystery of Amelia Earhart’s plane crash.
According to reports, the effort was partly inspired by a photo discovered in 2010 — that may show the wheel of Earhart’s plane in the water off the remote island of Nikumaroro, in what is now the Pacific nation of Kiribati. The investigation will launch in July 2012. Bob Ballard, Titanic discoverer, will serve as adviser for The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery trip to Nikumaroro this summer. The historic expedition is expected to last 10-days.
While Amelia Earhart believed that her record-breaking flights would prove that women were equal in “jobs requiring intelligence, coordination, speed, coolness, and willpower,” today she continues to stand as a symbol of courage and perseverance — remembered for her willingness to face the odds, and aspire to ever greater heights of achievement.