But both photogrammetrist James I. Ebert, an expert in photo analysis, digital mapping technologies and image processing, and Les Kaufman, a professor of biology at the Boston University Marine Program, disagree.
“The methods used to construct, rotate, scale and superimpose outlines of known plane parts upon objects seen in the video were effortful and clever. However, I did not find the demonstration convincing,” Kaufman wrote.
“All that I could make out unambiguously on the video, even after the powerful suggestions brought forward by the superimposed diagrams, were two pieces of rope of different gauge, a circular piece of wire, a few other pieces that could conceivably be man-made debris, and a very great deal of largely unconsolidated carbonate reef rock,” he added.
Ebert noted that the two formations focused upon by Mellon’s experts in the video “are identical in color and texture to the surrounding coral and/or sediments, giving no visual hint of consisting of metal and rubber.”
“In addition, there is no way of determining scale in the video images, so they may be of virtually any size. For these reasons it is not appropriate, and even less is it conclusive in any way, to hypothesize that these are aircraft debris, rather than coral or rock formations,” Ebert wrote.
At a court hearing last September, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl of Casper dismissed two of the four counts in the lawsuit, refuting allegations of racketeering and negligence.
Skavdahl has set trial for August on the remaining claims of fraud and misrepresentation.
“I think the lawsuit can definitely be resolved without going to trial if all parties are willing to recognize and appreciate the new information and perspectives revealed in the discovery process,” Richard Gillespie, executive director of TIGHAR, told Discovery News.
“Reason can prevail and we can move forward toward solving the Earhart mystery,” he added.
A new, one-month expedition to Nikumaroro is schedule to start on Sept. 15.