The Search Heats Up for Amelia Earhart and Her Missing Airplane

Dr. Robert Ballard Amelia Earhart Plane
Dr. Robert Ballard heads the search for Amelia Earhart’s airplane (Photo Courtesy of National Geographic)

Dr. Robert Ballard heads up a team searching for Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, in National Geographic’s Expedition Amelia. Ballard, who was responsible for finding the Titanic shipwreck in 1985, has assembled teams that will search land and water for Earhart’s remains and her airplane.

“I have always been intrigued by the story of Amelia Earhart because she shocked the world doing what everyone thought was impossible, much like what I have attempted to do my entire career as a deep-sea explorer. Also, like Amelia, I was born in Kansas, so it is only appropriate that a Kansan solves this riddle,” stated Ballard. “We have an incredible team in place of experts, scientists and explorers who are working diligently to map out this ambitious expedition. Using state-of-the-art technology and decades of evidence collected in regard to her disappearance, I would say we have a real shot at rewriting history by solving one of the greatest mysteries of our time.”

National Geographic Partners and National Geographic Society are funding the expedition. Ballard is joined by National Geographic Society’s archeologist-in-residence, Fredrik Hiebert, in the hunt for the answer to what happened to Earhart after her plane stopped responding.

Ballard’s search will be featured in Expedition Amelia, a two-hour special set to air on Sunday, October 20, 2019. Expedition Amelia is produced by Chad Cohen and executive produced by Christine Weber.

Details on the Search for Amelia Earhart, Courtesy of National Geographic:

“The ocean search will be conducted aboard EV Nautilus, owned by the Ocean Exploration Trust under the direction of Chief Operating Officer and Expedition Leader Allison Fundis. Ballard has assembled a group of Earhart experts, scientists and technicians for the monthlong journey that departs from Samoa to a remote Pacific atoll called Nikumaroro in the Republic of Kiribati on Aug. 7, 2019.

Nikumaroro is part of the Phoenix Island Protected Area, the largest and deepest mid-ocean World Heritage site. Ballard and his team, equipped with the latest in technology and scientific expertise, will explore the waters surrounding the island using remotely operated underwater vehicles and autonomous surface vessels. The archaeological team will investigate Earhart’s potential campsite using bone-sniffing dogs, DNA sampling and good, old-fashioned digging.

The special also follows clues gathered over the past 30 years by Ric Gillespie and The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR)— clues that have led Ballard to Nikumaroro. And perhaps most importantly, the film delves into Earhart herself and how she became one of the most intriguing and inspirational figures in history.”