Photo courtesy of International Group for Historic Aircraft RecoveryA sonar image may point to the site of Amelia Earhart's plane, the Electra, the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery announced. The nonprofit organization has been on the hunt for the Earhart plane wreckage for the last 25 years.
"What we have is something that looks like what we think the expected wreckage should look like right in the place where we expect it to be," Ric Gillespie, TIGHAR's executive director told Yahoo News on the phone from the group's headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware. "That's what 's so enticing about this, it looks different from anything else out there," he added.
The image, taken from a remotely operated vehicle in water 600 feet below the surface off an uninhabited tropical island in the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati shows an "anomaly."
"The most prominent part of the anomaly appears to be less than 32 feet long," states TIGHAR on its site -- it notes the plane was 38 feet 7 inches long.
Earhart, an American pioneer of flight, and the first female pilot to fly across the Atlantic solo, disappeared while attempting a circumnavigational flight around the globe in 1937. The hunt for Earhart and her Model 10 Lockheed Electra plane has been on ever since.
A decade ago, TIGHAR focused on the Pacific island of Nikumaroro as the likely spot where Earhart's plane went down. Now, a closer look at images from the 2012 expedition may have spotted plane wreckage. But the next step is raising money -- Gillespie says $3 million is needed -- to get back to the island for further investigation. If all goes well, the group hopes to return in 2014.
"It's not like 'Indiana Jones'", said Gillespie. "You don't part the bushes and the silver airplane is sitting there. You do the work and do the analysis. Then you go back and sometimes it' s nothing and other times, it's what you hoped it was," he added.
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