In July we may get the answer to one of the great mysteries of the 20th century: What really happened to Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan on July 2, 1937?
An expedition that has Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s support may provide the answer. A group including salvage specialists from the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery will return to what was then called Gardner Island to seek answers to the fate of the Lockheed Electra and her crew. Now known as Nikumaroro, part of the nation of Kiribati, the island has a reef that may have been the landing site of Earhart. Previous visits to the island have yielded artifacts that might have belonged to the aviators and which suggest that they might even have survived for a time.
This renewed effort is spurred by enhanced analysis of a photograph taken some months after Earhart’s plane went down. Experts believe that the photo may show the landing gear of the plane sticking out of waters near the island. In the new 10-day expedition, investigators will use state-of-the-art equipment attempting to answer the 75-year-old question of the fate of Amelia Earhart.
I hope they do find the answer. For so long there have been extensive searches and ongoing conspiracy theories about Earhart. As a woman well ahead of her times – independent, intelligent, unintimidated by the social norms of her day – Amelia Earhart has always been on the list of people I admire most. And she loved flying so: “Flying may not be all plain sailing, but the fun of it is worth the price.”