A group researching the fate of legendary American aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart say they may have located the place she died. The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) has identified a small Pacific Island as the place.
TIGHAR says the uninhabited island of Nikumaroro in Kiribati, roughly on a line between Australia and Hawaii, is the most likely place where Earhart crash landed her Lockheed Electra and survived for a while. The group has been researching the island for 10 years, Radio Australia reports.
TIGHAR leader Ric Gillespie says the group has found personal effects consistent with an Earhart’s belongings, including a campfire and modern materials that were likely aircraft parts.
Previously secret British correspondence from WWII revealed that the Colonial Service had found human remains, a bottle of cognac and the sole of a woman’s shoe and a campfire on Nikumaroro in 1940. The officer in charge of the island suspected the castaway who died at the campsite might have been Earhart and the bones and artifacts were sent to headquarters on Fiji. Gillespie told Radio Australia:
Everything points to this being a campsite where an American woman perished sometime. Certainly sometime prior to the islands' first colonisation by the Western Pacific High Commission in late 1938.
The island was later abandoned. Gillespie added:
Everything points to this being Amelia Earhart but there's no smoking gun yet. And that's what we hope DNA will give us.
Earhart and navigator Frederick J. Noonan, described on TIGHAR’s website as: ”The finest aerial navigator of the day,” went missing over the central Pacific during an attempt to circumnavigate the earth near the Equator.
A film on Earhart’s life is expected to be released in October.