Researchers and aviation enthusiasts have long been fascinated by the mystery of what happened to Amelia Earhart's plane and where exactly it went down as she was attempting to be the first woman to fly around the world in 1937.
Now, a new SONAR image might reveal the plane's final resting place 76 years after the event from which the pilot was never seen again.
Sonar image showing an "anomaly" that researchers need to conduct more site analysis on to determine if it is Amelia Earhart's plane or not. (Image: TIGHAR)
The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) has been working on piecing together details of what might have happened on July 2, 1937, when contact was lost with the Lockheed Electra Earhart was flying. It says the sonar image is off the coast of an uninhabited island in the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati.
"It’s exciting. It’s frustrating. It’s maddening. There is a sonar image in the data collected during last summer’s Niku VII expedition that could be the wreckage of Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra. It looks unlike anything else in the sonar data, it’s the right size, it’s the right shape, and it’s in the right place," TIGARH wrote on its website of the image.
Amelia Earhart and a Lockheed Electra (Photo: Wikimedia)
The "anomaly" in the sonar image is in a catchment area on a cliff of reef off Nikumaroro island. It appears at a depth close to 200 meters.
But does the image actually show Earhart's aircraft?
"Opinions range from 'almost certainly a man-made object to 'probably geology' but everyone who has reviewed the data agrees that the target is worthy of further investigation," TIGHAR wrote.
TIGHAR Executive Director Ric Gillespi told Discovery News of the image though that "there is no other sonar return like it in the entire body of data collected."
"It is truly an anomaly, and when you're looking for man-made objects against a natural background, anomalies are good," he said.
The research team will have to go back to the exact site to investigate further the anomaly in the sonar image.
Read more about the image released by TIGHAR and of its ongoing research into what happened to Amelia Earhart's plane here.