The Lockheed Electra’s broken wings rest upside down in the shallow waters off Blacktip Island’s northeast coast. Aviation experts say the airplane could be that of Amelia Earhart, who disappeared along with the plane in 1937.
Recreational scuba divers Wednesday discovered the remains of a 1930s twin-engine aircraft off Blacktip Island’s rugged northeast coast local authorities say could be that of famed aviatrix Amelia Earhart.
“The aircraft looks to have been a Lockheed Model 10 Electra,” said local aviation expert Whitney Pratt. “It was modified with a large fuel tank, and some of its windows were intentionally obscured.
“An Electra with those modifications fits the description of the one flown by Amelia Earhart on her unsuccessful attempt to circumnavigate the globe,” Pratt said. “There’s also the matter of the initials ‘A.E.’ scrawled on the fuselage.
“If it is Earhart’s plane, the big question is how it got here,” Pratt said. “She disappeared over the South Pacific.”
Marine scientists say the soft coral growing on the wreckage deepens the mystery.
“The wings have live carnation coral on them that’s indigenous to the southern Pacific ocean,” Tiperon University-Blacktip biologist Goby Graysby said. “We’re 5,000 miles from where any Dendronephthya should be. I can’t speak to the aircraft details, but yeah, there’s a South Pacific connection somewhere.”
The find has sparked talk of the so-called Blacktip Triangle where hundreds of boats and aircraft are reported to vanish, sometimes reappearing years later.
“All kinds of compass variations out there, you know,” longtime resident Antonio Fletcher said. “Space and time work different in the Triangle. Boats go missing. Lots of scuba divers get lost, too, but that’s something else. Bloody Marys, mostly.
“Plane could’ve crashed somewhere else and been transported here, like those Flight 19 bombers that got zapped to Kathmandu,” Fletcher said. “Happens all the time, you just don’t hear about it.”
Island officials are skeptical of the Blacktip Triangle theory.
“Most of those disappearances are exaggerated, or flat out made up,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “Civil Aviation divers are examining the wreckage. If this is Miss Earhart’s airplane, there’s lots of non-supernatural explanations.
“If someone wanted to fake their death and disappear forever, transmitting a false position and then flying halfway around the world’d be a great way to do it,” Marquette said.
Blacktip Island community leaders, meanwhile, are drawing up plans for an interactive educational facility devoted to Earhart.
“We’re gonna soak visitors in what it was like to be Amelia Bedelia. I mean Earhart,” local entrepreneur Rich Skerritt said. “The centerpiece’ll be a life-sized mockup of that plane linked to a flight simulator so folks can have a feel what flying it was like. We’ll have shirts and caps and coffee mugs for sale, too.
“Our goal’s to make Blacktip Island the hottest destination in the Caribbean. Or the South Pacific,” Skerritt said. “You got to have a dream. If you don’t have a dream, how you gonna make a dream come true?”