the international group for historic aircraft recovery

Amelia Earhart’s Disappearance ,mystery yet to be solved?

Amelia Earhart’s disappearance is still one of the most famous mysteries. In an attempt to fly around the world, the American pilot and her co-pilot vanished near Howland Island,24 hours after leaving Lae, New Guinea in the central Pacific Ocean in 1937.


The Mystery of Aemelia Earhart has captured the imagination of young and old, amateur and professional, since she disappeared on July 2, 1937 on her flight over the Pacific which would complete her around-the-world flight - the longest (following the equatorial route) and the first by a woman.
Despite a $4m search which covered 250,000 square miles of ocean, no trace of the pair was ever found. Most researchers believe that the plane ran out of fuel and ditched into the sea.

Theories about disappearance

There are three main hypotheses – that is, educated guesses that can be tested through research and exploration:

Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared over the Pacific in 1937. What happened to them?

1. They crashed at sea;

2. They were captured by the Japanese military and died; or

3. They landed on Nikumaroro, an uninhabited coral atoll in what is now the Republic of Kiribati, survived for awhile but finally died.

Despite massive search efforts by the U.S. Navy, Earhart and her plane wreckage were never found. The longtime mystery has led to creative conspiracy theories. Among the most popular are that she was a spy and that she landed and was executed by the Japanese. Another one claimed that she survived, moved to New Jersey and assumed a new identity.

For a long time, the most likely explanation was that the plane ran out of fuel and the flyers ditched or crashed and then died at sea. More recently, another theory has gained some traction. It holds that the flyers landed on uninhabited Nikumaroro Island, formerly called Gardner Island.

According to the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), Earhart and Noonan survived on the island for several weeks. They caught fish, seabirds and turtles and collected rainwater. Earhart died at a campsite on the island’s southeast end. Noonan’s fate is unknown.

This theory is based on on-site investigations that have revealed improvised tools, bits of clothing, plexiglass and an aluminum panel. In May 2012, investigators found a jar of freckle cream that some believe could have belonged to Earhart. Additionally, reports of lost distress calls have been reported.

Also, in 1940, a British Colonial Service officer found a partial skeleton on the island, as well as a campfire, animal bones, a sextant box and remnants of a man’s shoe and a woman’s shoe. The officer thought he may have discovered Earhart’s remains, but a doctor believed the skeleton to be male, and American authorities were not notified. The bones were later lost. Recent computerized analysis of the skeleton’s measurements suggests that the skeleton was probably that of a white, northern European female.

TIGHAR has led several expeditions to the island and found artifacts that suggest they were left by an American woman of the 1930s. The organization plans more expeditions in the next few years.