Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Earhart Project

Thinking about all the mysteries which surround the fate of Sir John Franklin's lost expedition, it's hard not to reflect on the intense human passion to seek to better understand -- even if we cannot "solve" -- the greatest mysteries of human history, particularly those that involve the loss of some great spirit of exploration, whose life lies unresolved at the shores of some unknown atoll. And this aptly describes both Sir John Franklin and Amelia Erahart, whose lost aircraft has been the cause of many searches and speculation in the more than seventy years since her disappearance. So it was with great interest today that I listened to a story on NPR's All Things Considered about an historic photograph which possibly -- just possibly -- shows the partly submerged landing gear of a Lockheed Elektra -- just the plane Ms. Earhart was flying -- on a remote atoll then known as Gardner Island (and here one thinks of King William Island, a place common enough in the parlance of Franklinites that we usually just call it KWI).

Gardner Island is now known as Nikumaroro, one of the Phoenix Islands of the western Pacific. Ric Gillespie and his group believe that this photo -- of which they have not yet been able to get a high-resolution copy -- may be the clue that finally leads to the solution of Earhart's disappearance. To that end, they have sought to publicize their cause, and raise funds for a new expedition to search the coral reef at this location for the wreckage of Earhart's plane. Just today, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton endorsed their cause -- funded entirely from donations, I would emphasize -- and it seems to me that those fascinated by the fate of Franklin would be likely to be interested in, and wish to support, this similar effort. You can find out more information about Gillespie's project, and donate to it here -- and let us hope that, perhaps, the excitement raised by this effort will prove contagious, and finally launch some kind of similar independent effort in the search for Franklin. As Secretary Clinton very eloquently said, "Even if you do not find what you seek, there is great honor and possibility in the search itself."

1 comment:

  1. Yes Russell, that was an intriguing broadcast yesterday. As someone who has long been interested in women's history, it's satisfying to see Earhart's daring refuses to be quelled.