Volume 12 Number 2/3
October, 1996
earhart logoearhart logoParadise Lost: Conclusions

When all is said and done, several key facts and a few crucial questions are apparent:

  • Pieces of what appears to be Amelia Earhart’s airplane were in found in the abandoned village on Nikumaroro.
  • The pieces had to have either come from there or from somewhere else.
  • There is abundant other evidence to suggest that they came from there (the island’s position on Earhart’s last described navigational line, the radio bearings taken by Pan American, the Navy search pilot’s report of signs of recent habitation, Bevington’s report of signs of previous habitation, etc., etc.).
  • No evidence has been found to suggest that the pieces were brought to the island from somewhere else.
  • There is neither enough physical evidence nor anecdotal evidence to indicate that an extensive salvage of the aircraft was ever done.

Logically, therefore, the rest of the airplane should still be there. But where?

  • None of the many surveys and searches of the island is reported to have encountered an airplane.
  • The single anecdotal account of an airplane being on the island (Mims in 1944) refers to it in the past tense and links its discovery to the earliest days of the colony.
  • The several accounts of bones discovered on the island are also linked to that early period.

It would therefore appear most likely that the aircraft was briefly available to the earliest settlers and then somehow became inaccessible. In other words, it went away. How could that happen? Barring nefarious and surreptitious activity by Emperor Hirohito or Darth Vader, the blame must fall on Mother Nature. Documented storm activity both in 1939 and 1940 would seem to lend credibility to the hypothesis that an airplane on the island’s land area might have been swept into the water. But which water, the ocean or the lagoon? Without doubt, the predominant direction of force in an overwash situation is toward the lagoon. It also seems reasonable that an aircraft swept into the lagoon would also be obscured from view by silt and sand stirred up by the same storm that moved it there. There is also the point that visual and sonar searches of the ocean immediately offshore have turned up nothing, while no real search of the lagoon has yet been attempted.

It becomes obvious that it’s time to search the lagoon.

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