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Debris field in South Pacific may be linked to Earhart’s plane


Researchers who scoured a remote coral atoll in the South Pacific Ocean earlier this year think they’ve found debris from the wreckage of Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra, which crashed somewhere in that part of the ocean in July 1937. After reviewing reams of sonar data and hours of underwater video footage from two submersibles, researchers found what appears to be a debris field that is separate from a British steamer that ran aground on the reef in 1929. The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, which mounted the expedition this year, said the underwater debris field matched what looked like man-made debris in a grainy photo of the island taken two months after the crash. TIGHAR speculates that waves swept the debris in the photo, which they’ve interpreted to be an upside-down landing gear assembly, out into the reef. The team is also analyzing a jar of skin cream found on the island dating from that period. The American-made cream contained mercury, used to bleach out freckles, which Earhart was known to have had. But that evidence is circumstantial, and the team plans to return to the reef to try to recover the objects it found underwater.