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Amelia Earhart’s Lost Plane May Have Been Found, Says Pilot Who Spent $11 Million to Fund Search

Amelia Earhart and her long-lost plane were last seen when they took off from Papua New Guinea in 1937

<p>Getty</p> Amelia Earhart

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Amelia Earhart

Have the remnants of Amelia Earhart’s plane finally been found? One crew searching for the long-lost wreckage believes they found it at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

Over the weekend, Deep Sea Vision revealed its discovery of “what appears to be Earhart’s Lockheed 10-E Electra," which they found after scanning “more than 5,200 square miles of ocean floor.”

In September 2023, a 16-person crew with Deep Sea Vision launched their search for the wreckage from Tarawa, Kiribati, a port near Howland Island, according to The Wall Street Journal

About 30 days later, the crew captured a sonar image resembling the shape of an airplane within 100 miles of the island, Business Insider and Today reported.

Related: Does This Photo Prove Amelia Earhart Survived Her Final Flight?

<p>Getty</p>

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Along with their announcement on Saturday, Deep Sea Vision shared an image of the plane-shaped object on its social media pages.

Although it remains unseen if the image seen on sonar really is the wreckage of Earhart’s missing plane, Tony Romeo, the pilot and real estate investor who led the search, told Today that he is confident the debris is connected to the crash.

“There’s no other known crashes in the area, and certainly not of that era or that kind of design with the tale that you see in the image,” he said.

Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan were last seen when they took off from Papua New Guinea on July 2, 1937. The pair was expected to stop refuel at Howland Island before continuing the trip.

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Romeo, who also previously worked as a U.S. Air Force intelligence officer, has spent $11 million to fund the search so far, according to WSJ and Today.

To find the wreckage, crews used the Kongsberg Discovery HUGIN 6000, which Deep Sea Vision described as “the most advanced unmanned underwater drone.”

“This is maybe the most exciting thing I’ll ever do in my life,” Romeo told WSJ. “I feel like a 10-year-old going on a treasure hunt.”

However, deep sea experts are eager for more evidence, which Deep Sea Vision hopes to obtain during its next expedition. "Until you physically take a look at this, there's no way to say for sure what that is," underwater archaeologist Andrew Pietruszka told the newspaper in a statement.

Related: Mysterious 230-Ft Shipwreck Found at Bottom of Baltic Sea Raises Questions: How Did It Get There?

The crew plans to return to the site to learn more about the apparent wreckage in the near future.

If the plane indeed belongs to Earhart, Romeo told Business Insider the next questions are “How do we lift the plane?” and “How do we salvage it?”

"I don't think we're there yet,” he noted. “But I do think Americans want to see this in the Smithsonian; that's where it belongs. Not the bottom of the ocean."

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