New Clues to Amelia Earhart’s Fate

News broke this week that may point to the final resting place of legendary pilot Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan. According to reporting from, researchers have positively identified a piece of aluminum as part of Earhart’s  Electra aircraft that disappeared July 2, 1937, over the Pacific Ocean. The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) examined the piece of metal, found in 1991 on the uninhabited island Nikumaroro, and now claims it is definitely part of the plane.

Location of Nikumaroro (via Google Earth)

According to TIGHAR, the aluminum panel is a perfect match for a piece used to make a quick repair to Earhart’s plane during a stop in Miami. Using archival photographs, researchers compared the patterns of bolts on the recovered piece to photographs of the Electra as it left Miami and determined the patterns were an exact match.

According to Ric Gillespie, executive director of TIGHAR, “Its complex fingerprint of dimensions, proportions, materials and rivet patterns was as unique to Earhart’s Electra as a fingerprint is to an individual,” Discovery reported.

TIGHAR has also examined archival photographs of the island and current sonar data, and investigators believe they have located the wreckage of the plane at the base of an undersea cliff. They are seeking financial support to return to Nikumaroro, specifically from donors looking to join the crew.

Nikumaroro Island (via Google Earth)

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