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Posted at 01:15 PM ET, 03/20/2012

Amelia Earhart search continues with support from Hillary Clinton — and possible help from an old photo

Correction: An earlier version of this blog incorrectly identified the photgraph analyzed by TIGHAR. This version has been corrected.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is taking an interest in one of the biggest unsolved mysteries of the 20th century — the fate of Amelia Earhart.


An undated file photo of Amelia Earhart. (Anonymous - AP)
The secretary talked Tuesday with historians and scientists from The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) to discuss where the American aviator may have gone missing over the South Pacific 75 years ago, the Associated Press reports. Searches at the time for Earhart and her plane were fruitless.

Informing their discussion is a contemporary analysis of an October 1937 photo that suggests Earhart, along with her navigator Fred Noonan, may have actually landed on a south Pacific island. The photo shows what some believe could be a strut and wheel of the plane protruding from the water around the island:


The red square indicates the supposed strut and wheel of the plane. (TIGHAR - Eric Bevington)

The following photograph shows the coastline of the same island, once called Gardner Island and now called Nikumaroro:


The south Pacific atoll of Gardner Island, now called Nikumaroro, is seen from the air on July 9, 1937. (TIGHAR - AP)

TIGHAR says Earhart may have even lived on the island for a short time.

The U.S. administration takes no position on TIGHAR’s analyzed photo, but acknowledges the intense debate surrounding it, according to the AP.

In June, TIGHAR will launch a new search for the wreckage of Earhart’s Lockheed Electra plane near Gardner Island, to coincide with the 75th anniversary of Earhart’s departure, the AP reports.

The Gardner Island hypothesis is hotly contested by some Amelia Earhart searchers, who say it’s more likely the aviator crashed and sunk after running out of fuel. Conspiracy theories — including that Earhart was spying on the Japanese in the Pacific — also abound.

By  |  01:15 PM ET, 03/20/2012

Tags:  National, Amelia Earhart, Hillary Clinton, unsolved mysteries, photos

 
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