Amelia Earhart's Plane Is Still Missing

In Depth
Amelia Earhart's Plane Is Still Missing

Dr. Robert Ballard managed to find the Titanic’s final resting place but, for now, he has been thwarted by Amelia Earhart’s missing plane.

The New York Times reported on the results of his team’s expedition to the Pacific Island of Nikumaroro, which was inspired by a 1940 photograph that looked like it might have some landing gear from her same type of plane. They were joined by National Geographic scientists, and “Expedition Amelia,” a documentary about the search, will air Sunday on the National Geographic Channel. Sadly they found two hats, shipwreck debris, and a soda can, but no Lockheed Electra airplanes.

However, Ballard feels good about the use of his time and remains confident that sooner or later somebody is going to find that damn plane: “This plane exists,” said Ballard. “It’s not the Loch Ness monster, and it’s going to be found.” He’s going to keep looking—for his mom:

“In many ways, I’m doing this for my mother,” he said, describing her as a “brilliant woman” who grew up in Kansas, like Earhart, but dropped out of college to raise three children and care for her sister.
His mother, Hariett Ballard, admired Earhart, and hoped she might pave the way for her children, or perhaps grandchildren, to pursue adventurous careers. Dr. Ballard’s daughter, Emily Ballard, was among the crew of the Nautilus, hunting for Earhart’s plane.
“I’m not giving up,” he said.

None of this changes the fact that we already know, basically, what happened: Amelia Earhart died on or around a deserted island in the South Pacific. She did not get abducted by aliens or slip through a time portal.

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