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Author Topic: Follow up from Ric's presentations  (Read 720 times)

Don Yee

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Follow up from Ric's presentations
« on: August 10, 2022, 08:24:14 PM »

Was just re-watching one of Ric's presentations from 2017 and I wanted to see if anyone could follow up on a couple of things.

1. Ric mentioned a small bone (finger) that was found during an earlier expedition and that OSU tried and failed to extract DNA. In the presentation he mentions that TIGHAR was likely to try again as technology had improved in the last few years. Was this ever done? Are there plans to do it in the future? I am aware of some amazing labs (especially in Europe) that have had good success in extracting very old DNA from bones (the Denisovans, an extinct group of human ancestors, are known for a single finger bone that had DNA successfully extracted and that's ~40,000 years old. Yes, it was found in a cave, but still.).
2. Ric also discusses a piece of metal that was located by divers embedded in the reef but a subsequent search failed to find it. Was that item ever the focus of a subsequent expedition? Did Ballard plan to look or cover that same area?

Finally a new question. I was for the first time struck at how much time Amelia had after the landing (perhaps 6 days total, maybe 2-3 of good health and decent stamina before any thirst/hunger/injuries set in and made activity difficult). So why not start up the engines and run the aircraft closer in to the beach or jungle? You'd be bring supplies closer, you're perhaps save the aircraft, and you'd make your travels to the plant to send out radio signals easier. I don't have a good sense of the lay of the land but it seems like leaving it out on the reef would not be a good idea, especially if she's watching the water get higher and higher each day. I guess maybe she was worried about damaging the aircraft (perhaps she honestly thought she could take off again), or perhaps it was already damaged in such a way that she could not move it, or she tried and it was stuck, or she got it stuck (hello Bevington object). It's all speculation I know but it seems like an obvious thing now looking at it (although she may not have thought of it).

Thanks,
Don...
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John Balderston

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Re: Follow up from Ric's presentations
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2022, 09:01:47 PM »

. . . So why not start up the engines and run the aircraft closer in to the beach or jungle?

Hi Don, pure conjecture on my part, but I've always surmised that NR16020 was damaged on landing.  My personal conjecture is the right main gear collapsed, damaging the prop and right outer wing as well.  Left main gear was still upright, allowing run of left engine with generator to charge the battery and hence power the radio.  Surf rose in the storm and eventually washed the aircraft off the reef.  Who knows?  But otherwise, to your point, why not move the aircraft to a more secure location?

Edit:  I honestly can't remember which engine had the generator.  Maybe #2 on the starboard side?  In that case, the LEFT main gear collapsed . . . .etc.
John Balderston TIGHAR #3451R
 
« Last Edit: August 10, 2022, 09:05:41 PM by John Balderston »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Follow up from Ric's presentations
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2022, 07:33:54 AM »

1. Ric mentioned a small bone (finger) that was found during an earlier expedition and that OSU tried and failed to extract DNA. In the presentation he mentions that TIGHAR was likely to try again as technology had improved in the last few years. Was this ever done? Are there plans to do it in the future?

No. The problem is, the remaining fragment of bone is so small that further testing would destroy it, thus making replication of the results impossible.

2. Ric also discusses a piece of metal that was located by divers embedded in the reef but a subsequent search failed to find it. Was that item ever the focus of a subsequent expedition? Did Ballard plan to look or cover that same area?

There was an unsuccessful attempt to find the metal during the 2017 Betchart expedition.  In 2019, Ballard wasn't equipped to find anything that small and wasn't trying. 

Finally a new question. I was for the first time struck at how much time Amelia had after the landing (perhaps 6 days total, maybe 2-3 of good health and decent stamina before any thirst/hunger/injuries set in and made activity difficult). So why not start up the engines and run the aircraft closer in to the beach or jungle?

As I've explained many times, the reef surface is smooth only out near the reef edge. As you move closer to shore, the reef quickly gets rough, jagged, and deeply pitted.  Taxiing to the beach would be out of the question. 

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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Follow up from Ric's presentations
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2022, 07:46:28 AM »

pure conjecture on my part, but I've always surmised that NR16020 was damaged on landing.
Edit:  I honestly can't remember which engine had the generator.  Maybe #2 on the starboard side?  In that case, the LEFT main gear collapsed . . . .etc.

The starboard engine had the generator.  I see no evidence of the plane being damaged on landing. there is no mention of the plane being damaged in any of the credible post-loss messages. Noonan, and to a lesser degree Earhart, had sustained injuries by the time Mabel Larremore heard Amelia at 9:00pm (Niku time) on July 2nd.  The nature of Noonan's injury is unknown, but Betty Klenck had the impression it was to his head.  Betty's "uncle", followed by cries of pain suggests a badly sprained ankle.  Both injuries were most likely sustained during an early exploration of the reef to see if the plane could be taxied to the beach.  That reef is extremely slippery and treacherous close to shore.
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