A single new clue to the mystery of the whereabouts of Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan may open up the case. Amelia, an icon of hope during America’s Great Depression, stood for pluck and confidence as she sought to be the first Woman to circumnavigate the globe by plane. Her uncanny disappearance has fostered endless debate, consternation, and conspiracy theory. Now we might be able to solve the problem.
Oceanographer Robert Ballard, who has discovered the Titanic and the Bismarck, was called in for this more difficult case, which even he found daunting:
“If you ever want a case of finding a needle in a haystack, this is at the top of the list,” he said before the State Department. But the haystack may have been reduced considerably, now that a photo from 1937 has been carefully studied using state-of-the-art equipment. The photo of what was once known as Gardner Island, and is know the Pacific nation of Kiribati, upon careful observation, shows what may be the remains of a plane in its coral reef. The blurry shapes are consistent with the design of the landing equipment on Amelia’s plane.
Having greatly narrowed down where the needle could be, investigators can now use underwater submarines and mapping equipment to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Amongst the staunchest supporters of their mission is Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who said:
“Amelia Earhart may have been a unlikely heroine for a nation down on its luck, but she embodies the spirit of an America coming of age and increasingly confident, ready to lead in a quite uncertain and dangerous world. She gave people hope and she inspired them to dream bigger and bolder.”
“Today, we meet at a time when the challenges are not so dire despite what you might hear on cable television or talk radio. But these are still difficult days for many Americans. After a long decade of war, terrorism and recession, there are some who are asking whether we still have what it takes to lead, and like that earlier generation we too could use some of Amelia’s spirit.
“We can be as optimistic and even audacious as Amelia Earhart. We can be defined not by the limits that hold us down but by the opportunities that are ahead.”
She also added that the search in itself is inspiring, even if it fails:
“Even if you do not find what you seek, there is great honor and possibility in the search itself. So, like our lost heroine, you will all carry our hopes … We are excited and looking forward to hear about your own great adventure.”