The Earhart Project
By Kristen Tague
Saturday June 9
Having failed to find Howland Island, Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan continued on the navigational line Amelia said they were following. That line led them to uninhabited Gardner Island where Amelia landed the Electra safely on the island's fringing reef. For the next several nights they used the aircraft's radio to send distress calls. Radio bearings taken on the signals crossed in the vicinity of Gardner Island.
One week after they disappeared, three U.S. Navy search planes flew over the island. By then, the distress calls had stopped. Rising tides and surf had swept the Electra over the reef edge. The Navy fliers saw no airplane but they did see "signs of recent habitation." They thought that all the islands in the area were uninhabited so they moved on. In fact, no one had lived on Gardner since 1892.
Earhart and Noonan lived for a time as castaways on the waterless atoll, relying on rain squalls for drinking water. They caught and cooked small fish, seabirds, turtles and clams. Amelia died at a makeshift campsite on the island's southeast end. Noonan's fate is unknown. Whatever remains of the Electra lies in deep water off the island's west end.
Is this what happen to Amelia Earhart? That's what TIGHAR, the Earhart Project thinks. Come to the museum and hear why on Saturday June 9th.
Kris Tague is a TIGHAR research associate and member since 1988
Presentation included with museum admission.