The mystery behind the disappearance of Amelia Earhart over the Pacific Ocean has fascinated people for years. But after a recent deep-sea sonar survey, some closure to the final chapter of her life may be forthcoming.
87 years after her disappearance, Deep Sea Vision, an ocean exploration company based in Charleston, South Carolina, claims to have found something that could be the wreckage of her plane.
16,000 feet (4,877 meters) below the sea, an anomaly that the company believes could be the Lockheed 10-E Electra aircraft she was piloting, appeared on their screens.
“Some people call it one of the greatest mysteries of all time, I think it actually is the greatest mystery of all time,” said the company’s CEO Tony Romeo, a pilot and former US Air Force intelligence officer. “We have an opportunity to bring closure to one of the greatest American stories ever.”
The discovery was made with sonar, a machine that sends a soundwave out into the ocean and detects the echoes generated as it bounces off of objects in its path. Repeated applications of sonar can generate something like a picture in sound waves. The sonar was sent from an autonomous underwater vehicle called a Hugin 6000.
The announcement was first made on Instagram.
Deep Sea Vision surveyed 5,200 square miles (13,468 square kilometers) of ocean, and managed to detect the anomaly 100 miles away (161 kilometers) from Howland Island.
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CNN reports that this position was along the path that Amelia was expected to arrive on following her ultimate departure from Papua New Guinea.
“We always felt that Earhart would have made every attempt to land the aircraft gently on the water… the sonar image suggests that may be the case,” said Romeo.
Romeo says that the venture is going to return to the area and investigate the anomaly further, hoping to get a visual confirmation of the serial number “NR16020” printed underneath the wing of the 10-E Electra. This could be possible because at 16,000 feet below the surface, objects can be preserved for long periods of time.
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If he and his dedicated team can get a confirmation, they hope to be able to get the plane out of the ocean and bring it to the Smithsonian Institute for future exhibit in the Museum of American History.
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