New Clues in 70-year-old Earhart Mystery

A team that has already found aircraft parts and a woman's shoe on a remote South Pacific atoll, hoping to return this year to find more evidence, perhaps even DNA.


Colorado's senior float-plane pilot, Lt. John O. Lambrecht reported "signs of recent habitation were clearly visible" at Gardner Island. But no people were sighted, and "it was finally taken for granted that none were there."

Accounts of shortwave radio calls were also shrugged off.

In Rock Springs, Wyo., Dana Randolph, 16, heard a voice say, "This is Amelia Earhart. Ship is on a reef south of the equator." Aware that "harmonic" frequencies in mid-ocean often could be heard far inland, experts said the shortwave transmission was probably genuine.

In St. Petersburg, Fla., 15-year-old Betty Klenck heard a woman identify herself as Earhart, followed by pleas for help and agitated conversation with a man who, the girl thought, sounded irrational.

Having heard Earhart's voice in movie newsreels, Betty was sure it was her - and still is.

"I remembered it every night of my life," Betty Klenck Brown, now 84 and widowed, said in a telephone interview from her home in California.

The man, she recalls, "seemed coherent at times, then would go out of his head. He said his head hurt ... She was trying mainly to keep him from getting out of the plane, telling him to come back to his seat, because she couldn't leave the radio...."

Betty took notes in a school notebook as the shortwave signals faded in and out. They ended when the fliers "were leaving the plane, because the water was knee-deep on her side," she said.

Her father notified the Coast Guard but was brushed off.

___

Last September, TIGHAR volunteer Arthur Rypinski paid $26 for an Earhart document offered on eBay. It turned out to be a copy of Carey's diary.

Carey's son, Tim Carey of Woodbridge, Va., says his father died in 1988. His role as an AP reporter on the Earhart story was part of family history. "The diary was completely in character for him," the son adds. "He was a real note-keeper."

Now raising funds for a ninth TIGHAR expedition to Nikumaroro in July, Gillespie says the Carey diary serves as a reminder to always "expect the unexpected" in the Earhart case.

"Pacific islanders don't wear shoes, so we know there was one foreign castaway, and maybe two, a man and a woman, on Gardner ... We hope this summer to recover human remains for DNA testing and find aircraft pieces that could be conclusively identified as from Amelia's plane.

"This is the expedition that could at last solve the mystery. I think we are right on the edge of knowing for a certainty what happened."


Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

News stories provided by third parties are not edited by "Site Publication" staff. For suggestions and comments, please click the Contact link at the bottom of this page.

We Recommend