The unexplained vanishing of aviation trailblazer Amelia Earhart continues to stand as one of the great mysteries in the history. On July 2, 1937, Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to complete a circumnavigation of the globe.
Despite an initial 16-day search that involved over 65 aircraft and four boats, the pair of aviation pioneers were never found and no conclusive evidence regarding their fate has ever been unearthed, giving rise to numerous theories and speculations.
In September 2023, Tony Romeo kicked off his $11 million search for Earhart by selling away his real estate business. Now he’s saying it was the best money he’s ever spent.
The Wall Street Journal wrote about the incredible potential find.
In December, Romeo—who sold his commercial properties to fund his search—returned from an expedition with a sonar image of an aircraft-shaped object resting on the ocean floor. He believes it’s Earhart’s Lockheed 10-E Electra, and experts are intrigued.
The location where Romeo said he captured the image is about right, said Dorothy Cochrane, a curator in the aeronautics department of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum, and sonar experts who have viewed the image agree that it’s unusual enough to take a closer look.
Romeo said he plans to return to get better images. “This is maybe the most exciting thing I’ll ever do in my life,” he said. “I feel like a 10-year-old going on a treasure hunt.”
“For her to go missing was just unthinkable,” Romeo said. “Imagine Taylor Swift just disappearing today.”
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“The company, which says it scanned over 5,200 square miles of the ocean floor starting in September,” according to CBS News, “posted sonar images on social media that appear to show a plane-shaped object resting at the bottom of the sea. The 16-member team, which used a state-of-the-art underwater drone during the search, also released video of the expedition.”
‘This is maybe the most exciting thing I’ll ever do in my life. I feel like a 10-year-old going on a treasure hunt,'” Romeo said.
The team’s underwater Hugin submersible captured the incredible image about 16,000 feet below the Pacific Ocean’s surface less than 100 miles from Howland Island, where Earhart and Noonan were supposed to stop and refuel before they vanished.
The team didn’t find the image until about three months into the trip, and at that stage it was impractical to turn back, he told the Journal, so they intend to return for a closer look.
CBS explained that “there other theories about where Earhart may have vanished. Ric Gillespie, who has researched Earhart’s doomed flight for decades, told CBS News in 2018 that he had proof Earhart crash-landed on Gardner Island—about 350 nautical miles from Howland Island—and that she called for help for nearly a week before her plane was swept out to sea.
Gillespie told CBS News the calls weren’t just heard by the Navy, but also by dozens of people who unexpectedly picked up Earhart’s transmissions on their radios thousands of miles away. Reports of people hearing calls for help were documented in places like Florida, Iowa and Texas. One woman in Canada reported hearing a voice saying ‘we have taken in water…We can’t hold on much longer.’
Gillespie’s organization, the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, has also claimed that it found forensic evidence, including bones on the island, that were likely Earhart’s.”
The aircraft, however, had never been found. Hopefully, that is until now.