formerly "The View From Up Here"

Formerly titled "The View From Up Here" this column began in the Liberty Gazette June 26, 2007.

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January 5, 2010 Search for Amelia, part 2

The Liberty Gazette
January 5, 2010

The View From Up Here
By Mike Ely and Linda Street Ely

Surrounded by sea, Gardner Island is a ring of land, almost three miles long and just over a mile wide with a lagoon in the center. The land has a little indentation where sea water flows into the lagoon. A coral reef surrounds the island’s north side. It’s jagged and scary, and underwater, but not deep. That’s what got the British boat we mentioned last week–it was grounded on that reef. It’s a walk-able ledge, extending long enough and wide enough to safely land an airplane. When the tide is right you can see it from the air. If Amelia Earhart landed on that reef, the plane could have been swept through the indentation into the lagoon.

There’s another interesting fact supporting the theory Amelia and Fred landed safely. When the Navy ship, Ithica, was searching for them they received radio transmissions they believed were from Amelia for five days afterward. If she had ditched into the Pacific her radio would not have worked.

Linda: Then what about evidence of personal effects? There is a site where they could have possibly been for days, even months, based upon artifacts discovered there. During expeditions in 1996, 1998, 2001 and 2007, two heels were found. One belongs to a man’s shoe, one is believed to belong to a woman’s shoe. Two shards of a mirror were discovered on two separate expeditions, and they fit together. It’s a square mirror, like might be found in a lady’s compact. Also found: a substance believed to be rouge, a pocket knife of the design that was in the inventory of the Electra when Amelia attempted the around-the-world trip, a zipper and a button like would be on a flight jacket.

Mike: Interestingly, about three years after Amelia and Fred disappeared, the British put an outpost on the island to try to colonize it. The colonization attempt was officially abandoned in 1965, but the point is there were British citizens there who claimed to have discovered some significant items: a sextant box, (a navigator’s tool), bones, and body parts, all of which were sent to their headquarters in Fiji. Then they were lost. But the numbers to the sexton box were written down and saved, and TIGHAR has copies of letters and confidential papers describing what was being sent to Fiji. If they can tie the box’s numbers to Fred Noonan, through Navy records or otherwise, that information will become key in this search.

TIGHAR researcher Megan Lickliter-Mundon says that “While there’s nothing like ‘Oh my gosh, she’s here,’ a smoking gun of a piece of the plane or DNA will do it.” And TIGHAR has asked if these items are not evidence of Amelia and Fred, where did they come from? All the items have been traced to American origin. “There’s just a lot of compelling evidence,” Megan adds. “There was a manufacturer’s stamp on the heel of the woman’s shoe. That company still exists and has confirmed the stamp corresponds to what they made back then.” Researchers have also found a broken bottle with a substance in it. Chemical analysis revealed it was hand lotion with lanolin, and was traced to an American manufacturer.

We’ll wrap this up next week with a peek at what these researchers are likely to endure. Till then, blue skies.

Mike and Linda can be reached at

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