It’s old and torn up and somebody probably cooked fish on it but a chunk of aluminum may hold the key to where Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra has been all these years. It may be in 600 feet of water off the tiny island of Nikumaroro.
In 1991 a storm hit the island of Nikumaroro and in the wreckage of the local Co-Op store a sheet of aluminum was found. The folks at The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery have lovingly named it “Artifact 2-2-V-1”. TIGHAR (pronounced Tiger) has studied this scrap since then and have come up with some conclusions.
1. This artifact has come from an aircraft manufactured in the 1930’s or 1940’s.
2. Artifact 2-2-V-1 is a piece forcibly separated from a larger panel of aluminum aircraft skin.
3. Artifact 2-2-V-1 is indeed the “Miami Patch” from the Lockheed Electra NR16020 which Amelia Earhart was flying when she and her co-pilot/navigator Fred Noonan went missing over the South Pacific.
The “Miami Patch” got its name when a window was removed from the Electra in Miami Florida. The window itself was a modification requested by Earhart and then removed on her orders. It is assumed that the window was for navigational purposes and why it was removed is anybody’s guess. The patch is unique to Earhart’s Electra and that is why Artifact 2-2-V-1 is so important.
The current theory is that Earhart landed her plane in the surf of the island and made her way ashore with Fred Noonan where they made a survival camp and radioed for help. The help never arrived, she and her navigator died and the plane was swept out to sea by the waves. Local natives remember Artifact 2-2-V-1 being used to cook fish on. It may have been used to construct their Co-Op.
A TIGHAR expedition in 2012 revealed a sonar anomaly in about 600 feet of water off of Nikumaroro Island. Bolstered by the revelations about Artifact 2-2-V-1, TIGHAR will mount another expedition to Nikumaroro in June of 2015 and take a good look at the sonar anomaly. With any kind of luck it will be the Lockheed Electra and the fate of Earhart and Noonan will finally be known.