A South Carolina marine robotics company seems pretty sure it’s found Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan’s Lockheed Electra in an area not previously searched west of their destination of Howland Island. Earhart and Noonan vanished in 1937 while trying to fly across the Pacific. Late Monday, Deep Sea Vision released side scan sonar images of an object on the ocean floor about the same size and shape of the aircraft. The company had been searching a 5,200 square mile area for almost three months when the sonar returns were spotted.”We’re thrilled to have made this discovery at the tail end of our expedition, and we plan to bring closure to a great American story,” said company founder Tony Romeo.

The searchers applied a theory put forward 14 years ago that an exhausted Noonan forgot to consider crossing the International Date Line in his celestial navigation calculation and directed Earhart to fly a course 60 miles west of where he intended. Romeo and his team replicated the math, first worked out in 2010 by NASA employee and private pilot Liz Smith, and began their search late last year. It’s not clear what the next steps are but the Smithsonian is hoping someone goes back for another look. “We are intrigued with DSV’s initial imagery and believe it merits another expedition in the continuing search for Amelia Earhart’saircraft near Howland Island,” said National Air and Space Museum aeronautics curator Dorothy Cochrane.

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