Tony Romeo, who spearheaded an $11 million expedition in the Pacific Ocean, recently unveiled sonar-produced images that are believed to depict Earhart's aircraft, which disappeared in 1937.
In December, he and his team analyzed sonar data from an underwater drone, revealing a blurry plane-like shape approximately 100 miles from Howland Island, the halfway point between Australia and Hawaii. The identified shape is suspected to be Earhart's twin-engine Lockheed 10-E Electra.
Earhart, aiming to become the first female pilot to circumnavigate the globe, was attempting to land on Howland Island in July 1937 alongside navigator Fred Noonan.
Tragically, they never reached their destination, leading U.S. officials to declare Earhart dead after two years. The aircraft was believed to have crashed in the Pacific Ocean, but her remains were never found.
Romeo, confident in his findings, asserted in an interview with NBC's TODAY show that the blurry image is undeniably an aircraft, specifically Earhart's, given the unique design elements visible in the sonar images.
He emphasized the absence of other known crashes in the vicinity, especially from that era and design, NBC News reported.
Despite the lack of definitive confirmation, Romeo's team plans to return to the site later this year to capture clearer images of the suspected crash. Acknowledging potential damage after 87 years underwater, Romeo stressed the need for further investigation.
Utilizing a "Hugin" drone manufactured by the Norwegian company Kongsberg, Romeo's team faced significant challenges during the initial mission, according to The Wall Street Journal.
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The unmanned underwater submersible covered 5,200 square miles, and the suspected aircraft was situated more than 16,000 feet underwater.
This isn't the first time Earhart's plane has been reportedly found. In 2009, an underwater photo surfaced, allegedly showing the engine cowling of Earhart's Electra. However, attempts to relocate the object were unsuccessful, per the Daily Mail.
The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) continues to support the theory that Earhart landed on Nikumaroro Island (formerly Gardner Island), and rising tides eventually moved the Electra over the reef edge to its current deep-sea location.
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