Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Lured by the Spirit of Amelia Earhart

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Lured by the Spirit of Amelia Earhart

Article excerpt

AN oceanographic research ship slipped almost unnoticed out of Honolulu on the second of this month bound for a miniscule dot in the ocean called Nikumaroro in little Kiribati, one of the tiniest island nations in the vast Pacific.

Aboard was a team of scientists and aviation enthusiasts keen to solve the mystery that's baffled researchers for 75 years: whatever happened to pioneering American aviatrix Amelia Earhart?

For most it was the seventh such working holiday for their group call TIGHAR aThe International Group For Historic Aircraft Recovery a to uninhabited little Nikumaroro.

In 1928 Earhart became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic ... or to be more precise ... the first women to be flown across the Atlantic: an aviator named William Stultz was at the controls doing the actual flying.

But it made Amelia famous, and in the next few years she set numerous aviation records.

However at the age of 39 she was at the controls of a Lockheed Electra trying to fly around the world at the equator, when she disappeared with navigator Fred Noonan after taking off from Lae in New Guinea on July 2, 1937, three-quarters of a century ago.

A host of bizarre theories surrounded her disappearance: Some theorised she was on a spy flight for the United States as World War II was looming, and that she was captured and killed by the Japanese.

Others suggested that tired of her celebrity status, she adisappeareda on purpose to live back in the United States under an assumed name a Whatever, she certainly wasn't abducted by aliens, like the Close Encounters of the Third Kind suggested.

TIGHAR members have always believed Amelia's aircraft ran out of fuel and crashed and sank while trying to land on Nikumaroro. This theory gained the support of US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton earlier this year after the release of a 1937 British Navy photo showing what looks like a piece of Lockheed landing gear on the island.

And experts are also examining an anti-freckle cream jar just like Amelia used and recently found on the unoccupied island.

Now while TIGHAR's people continue their search, divert to the little town of Atchison in Kansas USA that was the birthplace of Amelia Earhart in 1897, and where later this month locals will celebrate their annual Amelia Earhart Festival that's held every July, halfway between the anniversaries of her birth and disappearance. …

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