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Yet More Compelling Evidence That Amelia Earhart's Plane Has Been Found
While the early sonar readings seemed promising the data was incomplete due to what are known as "ping drops." Ping drops occur when the sonar receiver fails to pick up all of the returned signals due to environmental issues or equipment error. This results in missing data that can be lacking in detail. To get a more complete look at the object they had found, the TIGHAR team turned over their data to Honolulu-based Oceanic Imaging Consultants. OIC took that information and processed it on their own specialized systems, filling in the missing "pings" where they could. When the data was further analyzed they discovered that the object in question looks surprisingly like the fuselage of a Lockheed Electra aircraft, the very plane that Earhart was piloting when she went missing.
Over the years, members of TIGHAR formed a theory that Earhart was off course when she made radio contact with Howland and wasn't anywhere near her intended destination. They believe that she was much closer to the island of Nikumaroro, which is part of the Republic of Kiribati. Those theories proved to have some merit when a jar of anti-freckle cream was discovered on Nikumaroro a few years back. The cream was a brand that Erhart was known to use and was consistent with the era in which she lived.
That discovery prompted an expedition to the island last summer to search for further clues. At the time, the team was confident they would find the Electra aircraft sitting in a lagoon just off shore. Bad weather and poor sea conditions hampered their efforts, however, and they came away with no new evidence to support their claims.
It wasn't until they returned home and began to pour through all of the data they had collected that the sonar image finally revealed itself. The discovery of this strange and unexplained object on the ocean floor has given them hope that they are on the right track to discovering Erhart's final destination. With that in mind, the team is hoping to raise funds to return to Nikumaroro once more with the intention of solving this 76-year-old mystery once and for all.