American aviator Amelia Earhart, born 115 years ago today, disappeared on July 2, 193, over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island.
Amelia was attempting to complete a round-the-world tour on a twin-engine Lockheed Electra with navigator Fred Noonan, when they lost radio contact. A dozen ships and 50 aircraft, from the US government, searched for them for several months. Nothing of significance has ever been discovered about their whereabouts and Amelia, then 41, was officially declared dead on January 5, 1939.
Amelia, a pioneer of American aviation, was born July 24, 1897, in Atchison, Kansas. In 1922, she broke the women’s altitude record for flying above 14,000 feet. In 1928, she became the first woman to be flown across the Atlantic Ocean and in 1932 she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, and the first person to cross it twice. That same year, she received the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Gold Medal of the National Geographic Society.
There are many conspiracy theories surrounding Amelia’s disappearance. Some suggest that the flight was actually a spy mission commissioned by FD; others suggest that they were captured by the Japanese. There is even a theory that Amelia survived the flight and returned to the US, assuming another identity. Most believe that the plane crash-landed and that Amelia and Fred perished in the crash or shortly after.
More than 75 years later, the mystery continues.