On this uncharted desert isle

Seventy-five years ago, Amelia Earhart, navigator Fred Noonan, and their Lockheed Model 10 Electra vanished in the central Pacific. And perhaps now we know where:

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), a non-profit foundation promoting aviation archaeology and historic aircraft preservation, reported new details Friday leading researchers to this conclusion: Earhart and Noonan, low on fuel and unable to find their next scheduled stopping point — Howland Island — radioed their position, then landed on a reef at uninhabited Gardner Island, a small coral atoll now known as Nikumaroro Island.

Using what fuel remained to turn up the engines to recharge the batteries, they continued to radio distress signals for several days until Earhart’s twin-engine Lockheed Electra aircraft was swept off the reef by rising tides and surf. Using equipment not available in 1937 — digitized information management systems, antenna modeling software, and radio wave propagation analysis programs, TIGHAR concluded that 57 of the 120 signals reported at the time are credible, triangulating Earhart’s position to have been Nikumaroro Island.

TIGHAR, please: you’ve got to follow up on this.

And apparently they will:

In July, TIGHAR researchers will return to the area where Earhart and Noonan are thought to have spent their last days, using submersibles to try and detect the famous aircraft they believe to have been swept off a Pacific reef in 1937.

The only way this could be more exciting would be if they turned up Judge Crater.

(Seen at Outside the Beltway.)


  1. Roger Green »

    2 June 2012 · 7:40 pm

    just saw this on ABC News – exciting stuff!

  2. Jeffro »

    2 June 2012 · 9:56 pm

    Maybe that’s where Ambrose Bierce ended up as well.

  3. CGHill »

    2 June 2012 · 10:30 pm

    I’ll ask B. Traven if he drops by.

  4. nightfly »

    4 June 2012 · 8:47 am

    Note to researchers: don’t go prying into any mysterious hatches found on the island.

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