Forum Small Why wasn’t the Electra found when a British exploratory expedition visited Gardner Island in October 1937, just three months after the Earhart disappearance?

It does seem highly unlikely that the aircraft was not seen, but several factors may have contributed to the fact that it certainly was not recognized for what it was. Contemporaneous written accounts and photos show that the party made their landing on the reef just south of the wreck of the S.S. Norwich City. At that time, the grounded ship was still intact and thus masked from view the northern portion of the reef edge where the aircraft wreckage is said to have been located. In a photo taken during the visit, the material on the reef is visible but not recognizable as aircraft wreckage. There is no reason to suspect that it would appear differently to the eye than to the camera. It should also be noted that the two British Colonial service officers and nineteen Gilbertese delegates who made up the expedition party probably had no knowledge of the Earhart disappearance at the time of their three-day visit to Gardner Island. Their purpose was to assess the island for future settlement and their attention was focused upon determining whether the island’s soil was suitable for agriculture and upon digging wells in search of potable water. On the southeastern side of the island in the same area, where bones were found three years later, they did come across “signs of previous habitation” described as looking as if “someone had bivouacked for the night.”

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