The Kansas City Star
Pictures of sunken ships and submarines adorn the walls at Nauticos, a
Hanover, Maryland, company that performs deep-ocean searches and other
Nauticos has found every sunken wreck it has sought.
Five years ago, for example, the Israeli government requested U.S. Navy help in locating the Dakar, a submarine that had vanished in the Mediterranean in 1968. The crew of 69 died.
Nauticos, which does work for the Navy, reconstructed the sub's trail and determined that others had been searching the wrong area for 30 years. It found the Dakar nearly 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) down, then raised part of the conning tower for a memorial in Israel.
Other finds include a Japanese ship lost during the battle of Midway and a gold-laden Japanese submarine that the United States sank in the Atlantic, where it was to rendezvous with a German sub.
Now, Nauticos is focused on Earhart's plane.
Nauticos searchers think the aluminum Electra sank in water about 17,000 feet (5,000 meters) deep, where light doesn't reach and the water temperature is 28 degrees. If that is true, the plane probably is in good condition, Nauticos president David Jourdan said.
"It's like cold storage down there," said Jourdan, a 1976 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a submarine veteran.
Boston public television station WGBH, which produces "Nova," suggested the search to Nauticos. About U.S. $3 million in private funds is being raised to cover costs.
Nauticos started by gathering and analyzing data. How much fuel did Earhart have? How far could she have flown based on her plane's weight, altitude, and headwinds? What path did she take? What did her radio signal strength say about her distance from Howland?
Recovery Effort Planned
Although multiple experts have provided advice, Nauticos has culled many clues from Elgen Long, a pilot who spent more than 25 years researching Earhart before writing a 1999 book on Earhart with his wife, Marie.