An artifact of Amelia Earhart’s plane has been verified this week — an incredibly important step in possibly solving this historical mystery. An aluminum plate speculated to have once been a piece of Earhart’s aircraft, a Lockheed Electra, has been discovered on a Pacific atoll. Although the unearthing of this historic bit of debris was actually completed years ago, United Press International News reports this Wednesday, October 29, 2014, that researchers have only now determined with a “high degree” of confirmation that this may be in fact be an authentic find.
Talk about a promising way to end October. The news of the Amelia Earhart plane vanishing decades ago was a tragic moment in American memory. This month, however, experts are hoping they may begin unraveling the mystery surrounding this pilot’s passing. If this debris is indeed a plate of aluminum or artifact from the aircraft, it will be the first concrete remainder of evidence since this amazing American woman’s disappearance.
The debris itself isn’t necessarily new. The aluminum fragment was first located back in 1991 along an unpopulated Pacific atoll, known as Nikumaroro. This general region is believed to be the area that Earhart and her iconic Lockeed Electra plane went missing back in 1937. The debris is speculated to have been a makeshift patch or plate once used on the aircraft in place of a broken window.
Amelia Earhart departed on the first of June back in 1937 from Miami, Florida. This was going to be the incredible female pilot’s second personal endeavor to fly all around the globe. Unfortunately, this incredible feat was cut short when the woman was last noted to be flying from New Guinea. Less than 7,000 miles before she returned from the flight, Earhart vanished, and the mystery surrounding her death has remained a huge question mark among historians ever since.
According to MSN News reveals this afternoon that researchers now think they have found an important piece connected to the missing plane. Researchers associated with the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery believe that the aluminum plate was likely a temporary patch. The organization suspect it might have been used by Earhart to stand in for a window on her Lockheed Electra until a proper new window could be installed. The TIGHAR group has made it one of their goals one day to hopefully locate the specific crash site of this groundbreaking pilot’s aircraft.
“During Amelia Earhart’s stay in Miami at the beginning of her second world flight attempt, a custom-made, special window on her Lockheed Electra aircraft was removed and replaced with an aluminum patch,” TIGHAR executive director Ric Gillespie conveyed this week in a statement. “The patch was an expedient field modification. Its dimensions, proportions, and pattern of rivets were dictated by the hole to be covered and the structure of the aircraft … The patch was as unique to her particular aircraft as a fingerprint is to an individual.”
An ongoing hunt has been in effect for decades now. Ever since this piece of debris’ discovery was initially observed in the Pacific’s Nikumaroro territory back in 1991, the organization has focused their massive search efforts for the missing woman in the region. It is believed by many experts that navigator Fred Noonan and Amelia Earhart might have had to engage in an emergency landing somewhere around Howland Island at some point in their journey, but nothing is known for sure.
Several scientific expeditions conducted throughout the years have discovered several potential artifacts related to Earhart and the Electra, but with this find being cited as authentic “with a high degree of certainty,” it has researchers looking more towards Nikumaroro than ever. The aluminum fragment was found on the shoreline, leading some to think the vanishing plane crashed against the underwater reef near the coast, says TIGHAR.
Regardless of what clues this find may lead to, this Amelia Earhart plane discovery is a significant one. The aluminum artifact was thought in the past to possibly have become fragmented by the Pacific waters alone, but is now speculated to have been manually moved following the crash. With any luck, excited researchers exclaim, it is only another step forward in solving the mystery of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance.
“The artifact is not, as previously suspected, a random fragment from an aircraft shredded by the surf, and its removal from the aircraft appears to have been due, at least in part, to human action,” Gillespie said. “That could only happen if the patch was broken out when the aircraft was on the reef surface — but when and by whom? Somehow the patch/artifact ended up on the island, so it must have either washed or been carried ashore.”