Despite the call from Jalopnik's Travis Okulski for everyone to stop looking for traces of Amelia Earhart, the $2.2 million investigation by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recover (TIGHAR) is trudging on — and it now appears that their robotic submarine has potentially stumbled upon something rather promising: the debris field from Earhart's plane. But is it the real deal?
Discovery News is reporting that pieces of Amelia Earhart's plane may have been located in the waters off Nikumaroro island in the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati. The discovery was made by the TIGHAR team after reviewing high-definition video taken last month at the uninhabited coral atoll.
Rossella Lorenzi describes the potential finding:
"I have thus far made a cursory review of less than 30 percent of the expedition's video and have identified what appears to be an interesting debris field," TIGHAR forensic imaging specialist Jeff Glickman told Discovery News.
Located distinctly apart from the debris field of the SS Norwich City, a British steamer which went aground on the island's reef in 1929, the site contains multiple objects. Several appear consistent with the interpretation made by Glickmann of a grainy photograph of Nikumaroro's western shoreline.
Shot by British Colonial Service officer Eric R. Bevington in October 1937, just three months after Amelia's disappearance on July 2, 1937, the photo revealed an apparent man-made protruding object on the left side of the frame.
Forensic imaging analyses of the picture found the mysterious object consistent with the shape and dimension of the upside-down landing gear of Earhart's plane.
"The Bevington photo shows what appears to be four components of the plane: a strut, a wheel, a wom gear and a fender. In the debris field there appears to be the fender, possibly the wheel and possibly some portions of the strut," Glickman said.
Recovering the objects is TIGHAR's next goal.
There is also another investigation into a small jar recovered on Nikumaroro during a previous expedition that could add credence to the theory that Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan made an emergency landing on the island's flat coral reef where they lived out their days as castaways. Analysis of the jar show it contained traces of mercury, which was a common ingredient in anti-freckle cream — a cream that Earhart is suspected of using.
There's lots more at Discovery News, including some video.
Images via Discovery News.