Ever heard of Amelia Earhart? Of course you have, she was one of a kind, the was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. Earhart mysteriously disappeared while attempting to fly around the world in 1937, it is thought that her plane went down in the Pacific Ocean.
Ric Gillespie of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) says that the fate of Amelia Earhart may be much more saddening than first thought. He believes she died as a castaway on a different Pacific island.
Four months into her trip around the world, Earhart began to run low on fuel while trying to find Howland Island. Both the engineer onboard and Amelia herself were last seen on radar on June 2.
It is unknown what actually happened to the pair, but Gillespie says that they did not die in a watery crash. He says that both Earhart and Noonan landed on an island called Nikumaroro, which is around 400 Miles southeast of Howland Island.
“People started hearing radio distress calls from the airplane and they were verified,” he told an audience at a talk in North Carolina on August 5.
It was reported that there were 100 distress calls made from June 2 to June 6. These distress calls were heard all over the world from Australia to Texas.
A housewife in Texas said she heard Earhart of shortwave radio, she says that Earhart said she had landed partially in water. Another report comes from a 12-year-old girl in Florida; she tried to transcribe what Amelia was saying.
Gillespie says that she must have landed with fuel still in the plane, which is the only way she could have sent out distress calls. Earhart said she was injured but her engineer Noonan was much worse off than herself. However if the two were in fact on the island no one came to their rescue.
Gerald Gallagher, a British colonial officer found a skeleton on the same island in 1940, the skeleton was then sent to Fiji where it was measured and initially identified as a male. After it was re-examined in 1998 however, it was determined it was most likely a tall white female. The bones have been lost in between these years.
TIGHAR members also found aluminum paneling fitting 1930’s specifications, Plexiglas that would have been used on Amelia’s plane, and ball bearings. They also say they found a size 9 Cat’s Paw heel which matches the footwear in Amelia’s world flight photos.
The plane itself could not be found however, though Gillespie says the tide would have pulled it out to sea where it would have sunk. TIGHAR plans to send out submarines to search on the 80th anniversary of Earhart’s disappearance. Hopefully the truth will be discovered.