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Isn’t it more logical that the Electra simply ran out of gas and crashed into the ocean?

Intuitive? Yes. It’s a big ocean and Howland is a tiny island. Logical? No. Howland was by no means the only island within range and the aircraft should have had more than enough fuel to reach an alternate destination. Certainly the crew was highly motivated to reach land and Noonan was probably the finest aerial navigator in the world. A means of finding land, even if they couldn’t find Howland, was available to them and Earhart said, in the last radio transmission heard by the Itasca, that they were following that very procedure – running along the 157/337 line of position. That call came at her regularly scheduled transmission time. It was not a distress call and Earhart said nothing about running out of gas or landing at sea. She did say that she was changing her radio to a different frequency. The Itasca had never heard her on that frequency, and they never heard her after she switched. The extensive search which followed the flight’s disappearance found no evidence that the plane went into the water and, to this day, there is none. There is, however, abundant evidence (but, as yet, no absolute proof) that the flight reached a logical alternate destination – Gardner Island, now known as Nikumaroro.

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