Sunday, December 19, 2004

Explorer hopes sonar sweep turns up Earhart, plane

Link - Nauticos, under the direction of David Jourdan, plans to launch an expedition in the spring to find Amelia Earhart's plane. The latest expedition will use sonar to sweep a 1,000-square-mile area of ocean bottom near Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean.

Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared July 2, 1937, as they approached an air strip on Howland Island, a tiny island midway between Australia and Hawaii. They had taken off from Papua New Guinea, just 7,000 miles short of reaching Earhart's goal to be the first woman to fly around the world.

This will be Jourdan's second search of Howland - he had to abort a mission in 2002 because of technical problems. And the same area was searched in 1999 by another group that found nothing conclusive. Jourdan says his new expedition will use better sonar technology (at a cost of about $1.5 million).

He believes that the metal airplane will be mostly intact and will not have completely corroded due to the shortage of oxygen and the fairly still water in the area.

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