TEAM to search for
EARHART missing plane
December 18, 2004
At 17,000 feet beneath the surface, the temperature of ocean water is just above freezing, oxygen is sparse and currents are relatively calm. In other words, ideal conditions for preserving an airplane that might have crashed into the depths nearly 70 years ago, according to marine explorer David Jourdan, who hopes to answer one of aviation’s greatest unsolved mysteries ----the fate of famed pilot Amelia Earhart.
Jonrdan and his Maine—based company, Nauticos, plan to launch an expedition in the spring of 2005 using sonar to sweep a 1,000-square-mile swath of ocean bottom west of tiny Howland Island in the Pacific. It is the latest in a string of missions to learn what happened to Earhart when she, her navigator, Fred Noonan, and their Lockheed Electra plane disappeared on a flight around the world. “Things tend to last a time” in the deep ocean, said Jourdan. “Our expectation is the plane will he
largely, if not completely, intact.”
One of those going along on the Nauticos mission is Elgen Long, a former commercial pilot who has spent 30 years researching the mystery. Long, 77, of Reno, Nevada believes the answer to Earhart and Noomian’s Lue lies in their radio communications with a U.S. Coast Guard cutter that was tracking their course near Howland Island. Using Coast Guard radio operator’s logs, Long concluded Earhart was perilously low on gas because a headwind was much stronger than she had anticipated.
Over the years there has been a host of theories about what befell Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan in 1937 as they made one of the final legs of their widely heralded flight. Some have searched the sea, believing the plane found of the plane.
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