CHARLESTON- Following an extensive deep-water search, a skilled team of underwater archaeologists and experts in marine robotics have revealed a sonar image that could potentially solve the most significant modern mystery: the disappearance of Amelia Earhart with aircraft.
Captured to the west of Amelia Earhart’s anticipated landing point, within a region of the Pacific devoid of known wrecks, the image exhibits contours resembling the distinct dual tails and dimensions of her renowned aircraft.
Amelia Earhart Aircraft Discovery
Deep Sea Vision (DSV), a marine robotics company based in Charleston, South Carolina, led by CEO Tony Romeo, embarked on the quest for the missing aircraft based on the “Date Line theory” of her disappearance almost 87 years ago.
Initially proposed in 2010 by Liz Smith, a former NASA employee and amateur pilot, the Date Line theory posits that Earhart’s disappearance resulted from a simple oversight—forgetting to adjust the calendar back by one day as she crossed the International Date Line.
Smith suggested that Amelia’s navigator, Fred Noonan, miscalculated celestial star navigation by neglecting to set the date back from July 3 to July 2, creating a westward navigational error of 60 miles.
As private pilots, DSV’s CEO Tony Romeo and his brother Lloyd Romeo found merit in the idea and delved into the celestial mathematics outlined by Smith.
The Romeos came to believe that after 17 hours of exhaustive flying, it was plausible for Earhart’s navigator Fred Noonan, to make such an error. The theory and the region specified by Smith had never been explored—until now.
Romeo expressed little surprise upon discovering the intact aircraft, stating, “We always believed that she [Earhart] would have endeavoured to land the aircraft on the water gently, and the aircraft signature observed in the sonar image suggests that may be the case.”
“We’re thrilled to have made this discovery at the tail end of our expedition, and we plan to bring closure to a great American story.”
Experts and Tech Behind the Discovery
The Deep Sea Vision (DSV) team, a diverse assembly of experts, demonstrated that dedicated efforts and cutting-edge technology could successfully tackle the monumental challenge of locating Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra.
Over a span of 90 days, the DSV team scoured 5,200 square miles of the Pacific Ocean floor, surpassing the combined efforts of all previous searches. Their key asset, the HUGIN 6000, is an autonomous underwater marvel customized by their expertise to outperform any previously used underwater submersible.
It stands as the world’s most capable system, capable of reaching full ocean depth. DSV enhanced the equipment by adapting the side-scan sonar to search swaths nearly 1,600 meters wide, a substantial increase from the standard 450 meters.
These modifications were executed by DSV President of Operations Craig Wallace, whom Romeo recruited directly from the sonar manufacturer to aid in orchestrating the expedition.
The expedition, launched from a remote Pacific island located about a four-day cruise away from the discovery site, conducted sonar equipment dives lasting nearly two days each, accumulating several terabytes of data while scanning the ocean floor.
The international team, working tirelessly around the clock, utilized state-of-the-art software developed in real-time throughout the mission to analyze the collected imagery. The revelation, unveiled at the expedition’s conclusion, symbolized both technological triumph and an unwavering commitment to resolving the mystery surrounding an American icon.
Amelia Earhart’s disappearance in 1937 has fueled various speculations and conspiracy theories, making her an enduring symbol of her era, women’s rights, and the pioneering spirit of early aviation. DSV believes they are on the verge of solving this great mystery and has chosen to keep specific details, including the precise location, strictly confidential.
While Romeo expresses optimism about their discovery, internal debates transpire regarding the public release of the sonar image. Prominent authorities, such as Dorothy Cochrane, Aeronautics Curator at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, are actively working to validate DSV’s findings. Cochrane remarked,
“We are intrigued with DSV’s initial imagery and believe it merits another expedition in the continuing search for Amelia Earhart’s aircraft near Howland Island.”
Cracking the mystery of Earhart’s fate is just one of several ventures for Romeo and Deep Sea Vision. The initial investment that propelled the company into existence is paving the way for additional exciting projects. DSV has already completed an undisclosed project in the Pacific, with ongoing contributions of their technology to a longer-term project in Australia.
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