Explorers claim they may have found Amelia Earhart’s plane wreckage on the ocean floor, 87 years on from her disappearance.
A report from CNN claims a research team found Amelia Earhart’s plane deep beneath the ocean, still preserved because of the deep ocean’s cold temperature.
Ocean expedition team, Deep Sea Vision, headed to the Pacific Ocean between September and December last year to conduct sonar imaging when they made the potentially historical discovery.
Sonar imaging maps the seafloor using sound waves.
The sonar images beamed back to the team on the surface from the depth seem to show a twin-engine plane on the ocean floor.
The plane-shaped anomaly the team found lies some 16,000 feet below sea level.
Its proximity to the spot where Earhart disappeared, over the Pacific ocean, suggests they may have solved the mystery almost a century later.
Amelia Earhart’s plane disappeared after taking off from Papua New Guinea.
The discovery was made 161 kilometres away from Howland Island – the next planned stop on the itinerary of the intrepid pair.
Amelia Earhart made history as the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1932.
She disappeared in 1937, during her mission to go one further and become the first woman to circumnavigate the globe.
Despite extensive searches, the circumstances of her death as well as her companion, American flight navigator Fred Noonan, remain a mystery.
Possibly the greatest mysteries in aviation history, the fate of Amelia Earhart’s plane and its pilot has long captured public attention.
Since then there have been multiple speculations and conspiracy theories about what happened to her.
Some believe that she was a spy and, after crash-landing on a remote island, was captured by Japanese soldiers.
Others think that she could even have been abducted by aliens with one expert recently revealing where this obsession with UFOs could stem from.
The official line from the US government is that the pair crashed into the ocean after running out of fuel.
Despite multiple searches around the Pacific Ocean, where she was last known to be, Amelia Earhart’s plane has never been found.
And one man made it his life’s mission to get to the bottom of it.
Tony Romeo is a real estate agent and former intelligence officer with the US Air Force so holds a private pilot licence.
He’s so invested in Earhart’s mystery that he recently sold his business to fund his search for her plane and become CEO of Deep Sea Vision.
“This is maybe the most exciting thing I’ll ever do in my life,” he said.
“I feel like a 10-year-old going on a treasure hunt.”
He bought a $9 million underwater drone, hired a crew of 16 people and began what would become a 100-day search.
The team scanned over 5,200 square miles of seafloor in an area between Papua New Guinea and Hawaii.
They used the Hugin 6000 drone, able to access the deepest layer of the ocean, which is 19,700 feet (or 6,000 meters).
“We started by examining her final flight. We looked at her flight path. We analysed the winds, her altitude, all the information that we had and we came up with an area that we thought was reasonable and the highest probability for where she could have went down,” Romeo told Reuters.
After over three months, they collected a sonar image of what appears to be a plane on the floor of the ocean.
“In the end, we came out with an image of a target that we believe very strongly is Amelia’s aircraft,” Romeo said to AP.
“If you look at the sonar image, there’s three key characteristics on it; You see the twin vertical stabilisers in the back, and you see those very clearly in the image,” he told Reuters.
“The area where we found the aircraft was super flat and sandy. And so to see anything protruding above the surface, would be highly unusual.
“And then thirdly, the size of the aircraft and the dimensions are very close to what we’d expect for her aircraft.”
Next, Romeo would like to use an underwater camera to get a better look at what could be the wreckage.
Ultimately he would like to bring the aircraft back to shore.
This could answer questions about the crash, like whether Earhart died on impact or escaped the jet, and what exactly went wrong during the flight.
Some of the images in this article were created using AI.