Finding Amelia Earhart's Plane Wreckage: 2 Ocean Tech Firms Are Competing to Solve One of World's Greatest Mysteries

By Jace Dela Cruz

Feb 07, 2024 04:57 AM EST

Two ocean tech companies are competing in a heated race to find Amelia Earhart's plane wreckage. 

According to Business Insider, this quest has attracted interest from wealthy American investors eager to cement their place in history by solving one of aviation's greatest mysteries.

Ameila Earhart With Airplane
(Photo : Getty Images)
394033 03: (FILE PHOTO) Amelia Earhart stands June 14, 1928 in front of her bi-plane called "Friendship" in Newfoundland.

Deep Sea Vision vs. Nauticos: 2 Companies Seeking to Find Amelia Earhart's Plane Wreckage

South Carolina marine-robotics company Deep Sea Vision, founded by Tony Romeo, a former US Air Force intelligence officer turned pilot, claimed a potential breakthrough last month.

Using sonar from a high-tech unmanned submersible, Romeo said they captured an image that revealed the crash site of Amelia Earhart's distinctive plane. Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, vanished in 1937 when they attempted to fly around the world.

Two years after the iconic pilot and her companion went missing somewhere over the Pacific Ocean near Howland Island, a tiny unincorporated US territory, the two were declared dead.

However, their unsolved disappearance has long puzzled historians and aviation enthusiasts alike. It gave rise to decades of conspiracy theories about what happened to the two.

Romeo said they may have solved the mystery with his sonar scans after discovering an object of the same size and shape as Earhart's plane deep in the Pacific Ocean. 

Romeo, who invested $11 million in the project and put up Deep Sea Vision to help fund the search, told Business Insider that "the next step is confirmation."

"We've got to go back out with different sorts of sensors and really photograph it well and take a look at how the artifact is sitting on the seabed. Once that step is done, lots of people will be involved," Romeo said.

"The Smithsonian, the family, there'll be some investors involved because it'll be an expensive operation. But then we're thinking: 'How do we lift the plane? How do we salvage it?'" he added.

On the other hand, Nauticos, another ocean-tech company hunting for Earhart's Lockheed Electra 10E since 2001, has cast doubt on Romeo's findings. According to Nauticos, the sonar target identified by Deep Sea Vision does not align with the dimensions or characteristics of Earhart's plane. 

"Yes, the sonar target appears to have a fuselage, wings, and a tail, but... it appears to have swept wings, the relative dimensions do not match the Electra, and there is a lack of engine nacelles... Those characteristics are not consistent with a Lockheed Electra 10E," Nauticos said in a statement released in response to Romeo's recent findings. 

Throughout four different expeditions, Nauticos has meticulously combed vast stretches of the ocean floor, analyzing data and following leads to find the wreckage of Earhart's final flight. The company has reportedly spent around $13 million on its initial voyages.

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No Partnership Between Two Companies Looking for Amelia Earhart's Plane Wreckage

Business Insider reported that while there has been discussion of combining resources to find Amelia Earhart's plane wreckage, the two companies have not agreed to form a partnership. 

However, both companies share a common goal: once Earhart's long-lost plane is found, the aircraft will belong in a museum where everyone can see it.

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