- High-def video retrieved by underwater vehicles reveal a debris field that could be from Earhart's plane.
- Multiple underwater objects appear consistent with an object seen in a 1937 photograph that could have revealed the aviator's plane.
- Analysis of a jar recovered on an island show it contained traces of mercury, which was a common ingredient in anti-freckle cream.
Pieces of Amelia Earhart's plane might have been located in the depths of the waters off Nikumaroro island in the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati, according to a preliminary review of high-definition video taken last month at the uninhabited coral atoll believed to be Earhart's final resting place.
Carried out by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), which has long been investigating the last, fateful flight taken by Earhart 75 years ago, the underwater search started on July 12 and relied on a torpedo-shaped Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) and a Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV).
The AUV collected a volume of multi-beam and side-scan data, while the ROV, capable of reaching depths of 3,300 feet, produced hours upon hours of high-definition video.
Plagued by a number of technical issues and a difficult environment, the hunt did not result in the immediate identification of pieces from Earhart's Lockheed Electra aircraft.
"Early media reports rushed to judgement in saying that the expedition didn't find anything," Ric Gillespie, executive director of TIGHAR, told Discovery News.
"We had, of course, hoped to see large pieces of aircraft wreckage but as soon as we saw the severe underwater environment at Nikumaroro we knew that we would be looking for debris from an airplane that had been torn to pieces 75 years ago, Gillespie said.
As they returned from the data collection trip at the end of July, TIGHAR researchers begun reviewing and analyzing all of new material recovered from the site.
"I have thus far made a cursory review of less than 30 percent of the expedition's video and have identified what appears to be an interesting debris field," TIGHAR forensic imaging specialist Jeff Glickman told Discovery News.
Located distinctly apart from the debris field of the SS Norwich City, a British steamer which went aground on the island's reef in 1929, the site contains multiple objects. Several appear consistent with the interpretation made by Glickmann of a grainy photograph of Nikumaroro's western shoreline.
Shot by British Colonial Service officer Eric R. Bevington in October 1937, just three months after Amelia's disappearance on July 2, 1937, the photo revealed an apparent man-made protruding object on the left side of the frame.