Piece of Amelia Earhart’s Lost Aircraft Identified

It has been 77 years since one of the world’s great aviators disappeared over the Pacific Ocean in her attempt to circumnavigate the globe.  But despite years of mystery, the investigation is still making progress.  A recently identified piece of aluminum is helping researchers piece together what happened on Amelia Earhart’s final flight.

On Monday, The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) posted a press release saying they were confident that the artifact flew with Earhart because the scrap of metal, “was as unique to her particular aircraft as a fingerprint is to an individual.”

Source: Wikipedia

This historical fingerprint was originally found on a small island called Nikumaroro in 1991.  Researchers have called the piece Artifact 2-2-V-1, but now it is known as the “Miami patch.”

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. 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.

Many have dreamed of finding the famous aircraft and this latest discovery has inspired TIGHAR to continue their search near Nikumaroro.  They have already investigated the surrounding sea using sonar imaging and the results reveal some anomalies that could potentially be the wreckage of Earhart’s Electra.

TIGHAR theorizes Earhart spent her last days as a castaway:

Abundant evidence suggests that Earhart landed her aircraft safely on the reef at Nikumaroro and sent radio distress calls for at least five nights before the Electra was washed into the ocean by rising tides and surf leaving Earhart and Noonan [her navigator] cast away on the uninhabited atoll.

This summer, TIGHAR plans to return to the island with a team of scuba divers and remotely operated vehicles to continue their search.  Their hunt will cost about $500,000 and is funded by corporate sponsorship and public support.

The Wall Street Journal made this video detailing the recent findings.

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