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Author Topic: Bob Ballard to search for Earhart plane  (Read 84650 times)

John Gubata

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Re: Bob Ballard to search for Earhart plane
« Reply #75 on: August 21, 2019, 05:16:05 PM »

E/V Nautilus is heading home.
Nothing in the media....yet.
I think we're all holding our breath in hope.
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John Balderston

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Re: Bob Ballard to search for Earhart plane
« Reply #76 on: August 21, 2019, 08:12:25 PM »

Is Nautilus leaving early?

Nautilus' departure appears to be on plan.  Referring to any of the "Big Ocean Data" screen prints over the last five days with the Nautilus data table in the upper left corner, the table gives the next destination is Apia, Western Samoa, ETA 23 August, 2000Z. 

I haven't had any luck trying to interpret what was going on out there.   The expedition combed the area immediately west of the Bevington Object location, coming back several times, and kept on searching.  The search covered nearly the entire western slope descending through 2000 meters, several miles off shore.  Does this mean they didn't find anything and kept on searching until time was up, coming up empty?  Or did they search of the entire area as planned, finding items of interest along the way?  And what of the land team?  Very interesting.  Here's hoping. . .
John Balderston TIGHAR #3451R
 
« Last Edit: August 21, 2019, 08:17:35 PM by John Balderston »
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John Gubata

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Re: Bob Ballard to search for Earhart plane
« Reply #77 on: August 21, 2019, 10:43:51 PM »

Hello All,

The article on the nautiluslive.org website has the following:
Ballard has assembled a group of Earhart experts, scientists and technicians for the month-long journey that departs from Samoa to a remote Pacific atoll called Nikumaroro in the Republic of Kiribati from August 7-25, 2019.

However, BigOceanData has been showing an ETA 23/08/2019 Apia, Samoa for the Nautilus since it arrived.
Also, nautiluslive.org site stated that live dive coverage resumes August 25th. So everything appears to be on schedule.

Of concern to me is the fact that the last screen shot appears to show the Nautilus conducting routine oceanography operations (following the bottom of the undersea ridge) rather than making a bee line straight back to Apia.

I probably should not read anything into it, but wouldn't there be a bit more urgency if there was a Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp S3H1 engine on the deck?

Hoping they're just a bunch of cool headed explorers.

 
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Greg Daspit

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Re: Bob Ballard to search for Earhart plane
« Reply #78 on: August 21, 2019, 11:55:49 PM »

My guess:
It seemed like they were filling holes in the main search area before the left.
Even if they found a large piece they would still be doing a search for the rest after. 
I don't think they would recover anything big but I suspect they did pick something up for closer investigation. Two days ago they spent a long time on the north end, then it seemed like the signal for an ROV popped up and then they left that area. No ASV ran up and down the coast line then. It may have been the ROV surfacing for a short time.
The two most interesting things to me:
1.   The time spent on the north end of the island and the plots at that location not looking like the typical mow the lawn pattern for almost a whole day. Like they found something of interest and searched around it for more. I wonder if that area might catch a lot of ocean debris deflected by the currents hitting the east side.
2.   The repeated returns to an area west of the Bevington object after they already spent a lot of time there.

All these events could simply be just to look at something interesting that turned out to be NC debris.

In any event they did a lot of work!

Also,
Wondering if they may do a quick re-visit of something on the way back up to Baker and Howland.  Is Ballard leaving after the Niku portion of the expedition?
3971R
 
« Last Edit: August 22, 2019, 12:00:17 AM by Greg Daspit »
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Walt Holm

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Re: Bob Ballard to search for Earhart plane
« Reply #79 on: August 22, 2019, 11:05:42 AM »

The Nautilus track at the northern end of the island at the end of the search is pretty interesting.  When viewed in the context of the Nautilus track for the whole expedition, it appears that they were just extending their search area northward in relatively shallow water.  This is a pretty decent idea.  IIRC, this final search area is north of the area we covered with the ROV in 2010, so they were in unexplored territory, and you never know when you just might stumble across something.  If indeed the Electra floated off of the reef flat, it's a reasonable hypothesis that it moved laterally with the current into that area.

I do, however, have a somewhat more horrifying thought.  In the 2001 expedition to Niku, the dive team picked up a number of odds and ends and brought them back to the ship (the Naia) for further examination.  Mostly these were various bits of brass machinery from the Norwich City that had survived and were relatively corrosion-free.  Nothing ended up being from an Electra.  One intriguing piece, however, was a chunk of an intake manifold from a B-24 or PB4Y-1 that had been hacked off of a wreck with a machete.  Andrew McKenna found it in the beach of the Tatiman Passage, across from the old village site, partially sticking out of the sand.  It was probably from a wreck at Kanton Island and brought to Niku by colonists moving between the islands.

Anyway, if my fuzzy mind remembers this correctly, when we were preparing the ship to start heading home, I inquired as to where the tray was with the pieces we had brought back to the ship.  I was told that a Naia crewmember had just dumped them in the ocean while cleaning up the ship.  As you can guess by now, we were anchored at the time off the north end of the island, around the area where the Nautilus was searching at the end of their expedition.

Did the Nautilus run across that intake manifold, and, lacking any context, decide to search the area for other man-made objects?  I guess we'll find out in October.
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Greg Daspit

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Re: Bob Ballard to search for Earhart plane
« Reply #80 on: August 23, 2019, 09:08:53 AM »

Search crew shares personal theories on Amelia Earhart
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/2019/08/amelia-earhart-reflection/
3971R
 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Bob Ballard to search for Earhart plane
« Reply #81 on: August 23, 2019, 11:17:35 AM »

Search crew shares personal theories on Amelia Earhart
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/2019/08/amelia-earhart-reflection/

Intelligent comments by McKenna and Clauss.
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Bruce Douglas Evans

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Re: Bob Ballard to search for Earhart plane
« Reply #82 on: August 26, 2019, 05:26:29 AM »

Just a quick question? Does anyone know where and when I can see the NG programme in the UK?
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Joy Diane Forster

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Re: Bob Ballard to search for Earhart plane
« Reply #83 on: August 26, 2019, 08:26:30 AM »

See latest from National Geographic....

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/2019/08/tantalizing-clue-marks-end-amelia-earhart-expedition/

I'll let everyone read it and form/post your own opinions.
TIGHAR Member #4239
 
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Don White

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Re: Bob Ballard to search for Earhart plane
« Reply #84 on: August 26, 2019, 05:39:35 PM »

It was pleasant to read an article that seems to have the facts straight, and gives TIGHAR lots of credit (with links to TIGHAR web pages). I imagine that if they had found anything they already knew to be conclusive, they would have announced it immediately. They may have material to analyze that may prove informative when proper assessment has been completed. I do wonder what the bits that were described were.

"Ballard doesn’t plan on returning to Nikumaroro unless the land team finds definitive evidence that Earhart and Noonan perished there. Yet he already knows where he’d search if he did go back to the island: Beaches further south where it’s flat enough to land and the underwater topography is much smoother—perfect for sonar, he says."

That sounds like he is considering the landing might have been made farther south so the airplane might be there. But if the Bevington Object is landing gear, the airplane had to be in that spot when the gear was torn off. The airplane being anywhere else (unless natural forces could move it there) seems to require dismissing the Bevington Object as Electra wreckage. Betty's Notebook suggests they got close enough to the Norwich City to identify it -- either landing near it, or exploring after landing. It looks to me that the B.O. would be close enough.

Then there's this kicker at the end:

"An expedition land team led by National Geographic Society archaeologist Fredrik Hiebert may have found fragments of the skull in the Te Umwanibong Museum and Cultural Centre in Tarawa, Kiribati.

According to Erin Kimmerle, a forensic anthropologist at the University of South Florida, the skull belonged to an adult female. “We don’t know if it’s her or not but all lines of evidence point to the 1940 bones being in this museum,” she says. They’ll know more when the skull has been reconstructed and its DNA tested, which should happen in the next few months."

It would be ironic if true, given how much work TIGHAR put into looking for the bones. I have read through past material on the bones searches and don't see any reference to this museum. I do see that in the 1999 Bones Search I Report it is suggested that the bones might have been returned to Kiribati, but no indication that this was followed up (and I know that I might have missed something in all the reading material). My first thought was that these bones would already have been looked at in the bones collections checked during the searches and dismissed as not THE bones. My second thought is the condition of the skull suggests it's not THE skull. The skull found in 1940 was missing some parts but, as I understand it, was essentially in one piece. The skull in the museum is broken -- indeed the picture with the article shows what appear to be parts of several skulls. While it is possible to imagine how it might get broken ("careful, Igor!"), there could be other skulls  -- drowned Norwich City crewmen washed up on shore or out of graves, villagers who died and were buried there -- that might have been found on Niku since 1940, that are not the one we are looking for. The significance of the find in 1940 was that it was found first; it was in the wrong place to be a Norwich City victim, had died in the open and remained unburied, predated any colonist burials, and that there wasn't anyone other than Earhart and Noonan known to be missing in that place and time. Hence the British conclusion, once they thought they had ruled out Amelia, that it was an unknown castaway; their capacity to believe in the existence of such a person being greater than ours today. Fortunately DNA, if there is enough in good condition, could prove conclusive. Wouldn't that be nice.

LTM,
Don
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David Williams

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Re: Bob Ballard to search for Earhart plane
« Reply #85 on: August 27, 2019, 05:32:35 AM »

Don White noted:

“Yet he (Bob Ballard) already knows where he’d search if he did go back to the island: Beaches further south where it’s flat enough to land and the underwater topography is much smoother—perfect for sonar, he says."    Don also notes: “That sounds like he is considering the landing might have been made farther south so the airplane might be there.”

Dr. Ballard’s remarks concur with my theory, if you didn’t see it first time around please take a look at “My 281 Theory” which I posted in late Sept, 2017 and which Marty relegated from the then current Discussion Page into the backwoods of the Celestial Choir section and probably missed by many.

The number 281 was first noted in a fragmented message on 3105 kHz in badly-sent code heard by three operators at U.S. Navy Radio Wailupe on Monday, July 5 1937.

The message was "281 north Howland call KHAQQ beyond north don’t hold with us much longer above water shut off."  Commander Thompson (Itasca) interpreted the message to mean that the plane was afloat 281 miles north of Howland, but when he went to that location there was no plane.

If Amelia or Fred took a sighting after landing on Gardner and the latitude they found themselves to have landed at was S4* 41’ 00” this converts precisely to 281 Nautical Miles SOUTH of the equator. This line of latitude goes through the beach adjacent to the ‘seven site’ enters the lagoon and then runs straight through the southern beaches where I theorise they may have landed, incidentally coinciding with Dr. Ballard’s most recent thoughts on where “he’d search if he did go back to the island”

Ric commented on my theory back in Oct 2017 regarding the ‘281 Transmission’ and my suggestion Earhart and Noonan landed somewhere along that line of latitude as follows:

RIC - “We have judged the message to be credible so it was probably sent from Gardner   It is true that the equator is 281 nautical miles north of a line of latitude that passes through the Seven Site.”

RIC - “It is also true that, after arrival, Noonan should have easily been able to determine their latitude if he was not too injured.”   
(MY NOTE, if he was incapacitated I think Amelia would have had a go at obtaining a sighting under the desperate circumstances, perhaps with his verbal guidance)

RIC - “The reef on the north arm of the atoll near the Seven Site is not suitable for landing and would not leave the plane intact enough to send distress calls.”
(MY NOTE, maybe not... but just maybe... it would be a short walk to the 7 site)

RIC - “The reef on the south side on the same line of latitude is "landable," but we have no evidence that the landing was made there.”
(MY NOTE - lack of evidence does not mean that it did not happen though)

It does not now seem likely to me that the E/V Nautilus expedition found anything associated with the Electra off the so called Bevington Object position, in the form of the aircraft centre section or either of its engines, landing gear etc.  I concede that time will tell if they have any other anomalies to report after they analyse the considerable amount of data they surely collected!   A fresh note of optimism if the museum skull pieces turn out to be either AE’s or Freds!  Hopefully they will have something, fingers crossed, be real nice to put this baby to bed!

If you do read my 281 Theory, located in the Celestial Choir section, you will see how I arrived at that theoretical conclusion, based on the relationship between NM and degrees of latitude.

Dave Williams
27th August, 2019
Dave W
in the frozen north

 
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Matt Revington

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Re: Bob Ballard to search for Earhart plane
« Reply #86 on: August 27, 2019, 07:59:30 AM »


"An expedition land team led by National Geographic Society archaeologist Fredrik Hiebert may have found fragments of the skull in the Te Umwanibong Museum and Cultural Centre in Tarawa, Kiribati.

According to Erin Kimmerle, a forensic anthropologist at the University of South Florida, the skull belonged to an adult female. “We don’t know if it’s her or not but all lines of evidence point to the 1940 bones being in this museum,” she says.

I'm interested to know what the lines of evidence pointing this museum were.
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Bill Mangus

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Re: Bob Ballard to search for Earhart plane
« Reply #87 on: August 27, 2019, 08:07:40 AM »

I wonder if they thought to look for or ask about the wooden box that was built to transport the bones back to Tarawa.  Seems to me, if they have the skull they should have the rest of the bones also. And the various other items Gallagher reported finding, (shoe parts, corks and chains, etc.).

Also, I believe/think I remember that both Gallagher and Hoodless(?) reported skull was intact.  Why is it apparently in so many pieces now?
« Last Edit: August 27, 2019, 12:55:00 PM by Bill Mangus »
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Greg Daspit

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Re: Bob Ballard to search for Earhart plane
« Reply #88 on: August 27, 2019, 09:40:32 AM »

This was a fine effort by the Nautilus crew and expedition team. A lot of area was searched.

But this quote bothers me because I believe it to be inaccurate and harmful to the search effort.
“We visually examined 100 percent of the island down to 750 meters [2,400 feet] and did not see evidence of the plane,” says Ballard”
Besides the lack of Plots on the East and South sides, how far apart were the plots of the Nautilus on the big mow-the-lawn search they did on the west side? 100 yards? What is the effective visual field of view of the ROV?
It would help to see the tracks of the actual ROV, not the Nautilus. Show the plots of the ROV and give a width to the line that equals the width of the field of view. Then look for holes.

 Also I would like to have seen some mention of doubts about possible landslides covering it up or that something might have been simply missed in the first viewing. edit: I do believe that debris gets channeled to chutes. Plane debris may have been channeled into these chutes as early as within 20 years. And there could be 62 more years of coral debris channeled on top of them.  In my opinion there seemed to be too much confidence about everything. Before and after the search.

It would help to see their footage of the same area as the 2012 Debris Field footage (200’ depth). If only to see how much that area changed. Changes in coral life, or evidence of landslides, etc.

Also wondering same things as Matt and Bill regarding the skull. What is the paper trail for the bones being in a museum Tarawa ?
3971R
 
« Last Edit: August 27, 2019, 10:37:37 AM by Greg Daspit »
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Don White

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Re: Bob Ballard to search for Earhart plane
« Reply #89 on: August 27, 2019, 08:38:30 PM »

Yeah, I also wonder what those lines of evidence about the skull are -- and how their forensic anthropologist knows it is of an adult female. Well, as I said, DNA analysis might help. If we got really lucky, there might be a close match to an Earhart or Noonan relative (as far as I recall from my reading, there are no positively identified DNA samples from Amelia or Fred themselves, but relatives have contributed theirs). Next best would be at least determining if it was someone of European descent, or not. However, they need to get a good sample. DNA degrades over time, and from heat and other environmental conditions. Remember the finger bone that was found, and the difficulty of determining even what species it was from. And even so -- there aren't labels on chromosomes saying "European" or something like that -- it's all based on comparing to other samples of known origin. That's why the testing companies want to amass big databases, to have that consensus. This strikes me as subject to a circular-argument fallacy about what ethnic origin the DNA actually indicates.

As for the landing site -- I do remember reading about the 281 theory and I went back and read it again while writing this -- it seems to have been dealt with at the time that it's possible that was what they were reporting -- though it seems an odd way to report a position -- but that their accuracy would not be sufficient to pinpoint a specific location on the island. It's also occurred to me that Fred would have not only had to be physically able to take a sight and calculate it, and have a sextant with which to sight, but also have what was needed to reduce his sight into a position. This gets back to the question of what they removed from the airplane -- though if Fred were able, attempting to find their location is likely a high priority. Indications seem to be that they were not able to get a good position and had no idea of the name of the island (hence using the shipwreck as a clue for listeners).

Ballard saying he would go back to that section further south along the beach because it's easy to search seems a bit like that old joke about the guy looking for his lost keys under the street lamp instead of in the dark place where he dropped them.

Well -- we don't know for sure where the airplane landed nor where it went after it landed -- it is (or was) wherever it is (or was). We do have indications of a possible location. If it is ever found, then we might work out how it got to wherever it got to -- for now, we are still trying to figure out where it got to, including theories about how, pointing to a possible where. This is also like looking for lost keys. When I misplace my keys, I retrace my steps and use my memory to help narrow down where they are. But in this case we are figuratively looking for someone else's lost keys, without the owner's help, and with some question as to whether they are still there to find. This is more like not being sure whether something I've misplaced is in my living space, or in my garage, or dropped in the street, or I got rid of it and forgot I didn't still own it (this has actually happened). Then when I do find it (it was usually put in a different place from where I would normally put it) it seems obvious that it would be where it in fact was.

And the thing about having searched 100% of some area -- there are still 100% of a lot of other areas not yet searched. Maybe further examination of the video will turn up something, though TIGHAR knows how that can go with ephemeral clues and things that look like other things. What Ballard said is they searched 100% of a given area and did not see evidence of the plane. He did not say that it is not there, only that they did not see it. We don't know if this is because there is nothing to see in that location, or it simply hasn't been seen yet. As Ric said once, this is harder than finding a big shipwreck that you know exists and have some idea of where it is. This is more like looking for bits of shredded documents that may have been thrown into a dumpster that may have been emptied since then, and may not even be the right dumpster.

Anyway, I do think at least a bit more is known than was a month ago.

LTM,
Don
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