Vanished Pioneer; Expedition Soon Might Solve 1937 Mystery of Amelia Earhart

WASHINGTON -- They last were seen bounding up the silver left wing of their Lockheed Electra, navigator Fred Noonan clutching Amelia Earhart's left hand to help her from the ground. Then they eased themselves into the cockpit and slammed the hatch...

Although amateur radio operators claimed to have picked up signals from Earhart over the next few days -- signals that suggested she had crash-landed -- the Itasca never heard from her again. President Franklin Roosevelt ordered a massive search, involving planes from the carrier Lexington and float planes from the battleship Colorado.

In a note to Putnam before the flight, Earhart wrote: "I know that if I fail or if I am lost you will be blamed for allowing me to leave on this trip; the backers of the flight will be blamed and everyone connected with it. But it's my responsibility and mine alone."

Box Story: On the Internet

* To see a 30-second film of Amelia Earhart's last takeoff -- from Lae, New Guinea, on July 2, 1937 -- visit meliavideo.html.

* To browse the Earhart archive at Purdue University, which has more than 900 items, visit

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