Breakthrough in search for Amelia Earhart’s plane after ‘wreckage found on seabed’

Amelia Earhart’s plane vanished in 1937 (Picture: Getty/Triangle News)

The mystery around what happened to Amelia Earhart – the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean – may be finally solved.

Divers believe they have finally discovered her plane lying on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean near where the American aviator vanished in 1937.

Since her disappearance – during her most ambitious journey – millions of dollars have been spent on finding the wreckage.

Experts have long wondered where the missing adventurer lies – and this may be a huge breakthrough in he case.

After scanning 5,200 miles of seabed near Earhart’s last known position, surveyors Deep Sea Vision believe they may have located her Lockheed 10-E Electra.

The 16-person crew has spent months combing through the Pacific Ocean with a Kongsberg Discovery HUGIN 6000, the most advanced unmanned underwater drone available.

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And their efforts may have finally paid off.

The company announced over the weekend that it has detected a plane-shaped object lying on the ocean floor close to Howland Island, between Fiji and the Hawaiian islands.

A post on Deep Sea Vision’s Twitter page says: ‘On July 2, 1937, Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan took off from Papua New Guinea, nearing the end of their record-setting journey around the world never to be seen again.

‘Until today. Deep Sea Vision found what appears to be Earhart’s Lockheed 10-E Electra.’

Accompanying the post is a grainy image in black and yellow which appears to show a small plane lying on the sea floor more than 3,000 metres down.

CEO Tony Romeo stressed this may be ‘the most exciting thing I’ll ever do in my life’.

‘I feel like a 10-year-old going on a treasure hunt,’ he told the Wall Street Journal.

‘For her to go missing was just unthinkable. Imagine Taylor Swift just disappearing today.’

His crew launched in September from Tarawa, Kiribati, a port near Howland Island, with 16 people on a research vessel.

Their job was to take images of the deep sea bed in the hope of locating anything that could give a hint as to what happened to Earhart’s plane.

The grainy picture was taken a month into the mission but was only discovered in December when the images were checked.

It takes hundreds of hours to scan pictures to find potential wreck sites.

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