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UH contacted to help out with Earhart mystery

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University of Hawaii officials have been contacted about the possibility of providing a research ship to search for the wreckage of Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra plane that disappeared without a trace over the Pacific 75 years ago, UH officials said today.

"We do not know at this point whether or not the University of Hawaii at Manoa research vessel ‘Ka’imikai o Kanaloa’ will be used in the newly-announced search for the remains of aviator Amelia Earhart’s airplane, believed to be lost somewhere over the Pacific in 1937," UH spokeswoman Lynne Waters said. "We have received initial inquiries as to the possibility of chartering or renting the KOK for this purpose by the organization mounting the new search, but it has not gone beyond the inquiry stage as of today."

The Associated Press reported today that enhanced analysis of a photograph taken just months after Earhart’s Lockheed Electra plane vanished shows what experts think may be the landing gear of the aircraft protruding from the waters off the remote island of Nikumaroro, in what is now the Pacific nation of Kiribati, they said.

Armed with that analysis by the State Department, historians, scientists and salvagers from The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, are returning to the island in July in the hope of finding the wreckage of Earhart’s plane and perhaps even the remains of the pilot and her navigator Fred Noonan, the AP reported.

Ric Gillespie, executive director of the group, acknowledged that the evidence was "circumstantial" but "strong" but stopped short of predicting success. The new search is scheduled to last for 10 days in July and will use state-of-the-art underwater robotic submarines and mapping equipment.

Earhart and Noonan disappeared July 2, 1937, while flying from New Guinea to Howland Island as part of her attempt to become the first female pilot to circumnavigate the globe.

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