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Ex-US Air Force officer may have found Amelia Earhart’s long-lost plane after spending $11 million on search

Ex-US Air Force officer may have found Amelia Earhart’s long-lost plane after spending $11 million on search

People have been searching for Amelia Earhart's missing plane ever since she vanished in 1937

A former US Air Force intelligence officer believes he may have found the remnants of Amelia Earhart's long-lost plane after dedicating millions of dollars to his search.

It was 2 July, 1937 when Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, seemingly disappeared off the face of the Earth.

American aviator Earhart had years of flying experience after taking flying lessons in the 1920s, and on 1 June, 1937 she set off with navigator Fred Noonan to fly around the world.

Together the pair traveled to New Guinea before heading to Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean, but during their journey Earhart radioed the coastguard to say the plane was running out of fuel.

Her last transmission came about an hour later, before the plane is believed to have gone down approximately 100 miles (160 km) from the island.

Ever since, curious members of the public have been desperate to know what happened to Earhart and the plane, which has never been found. Until now?

Amelia Earhart was hoping to fly around the world.
Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Tony Romeo, a pilot, former US Air Force officer and commercial real-estate investor, is among those who have been captivated by Earhart's disappearance; so much so that he sold his commercial properties to fund his $11 million search.

In December, Romeo returned from an exhibition to the Pacific Ocean, during which his team had used sonar to scan the area where many believe Earhart's plane went down.

He returned with an impressive find - an image of an aircraft-shaped object resting on the ocean floor.

Romeo is convinced the image shows Earhart’s Lockheed 10-E Electra plane, and opened up about the find to the Wall Street Journal.

“This is maybe the most exciting thing I’ll ever do in my life,” he said. “I feel like a 10-year-old going on a treasure hunt.”

The sonar image shows an object shaped like a plane.
6abc Philadelphia

Romeo described Earhart's disappearance as 'unthinkable', likening it to 'Taylor Swift just disappearing today'. Together with his two brothers, Romeo studied radio messages received by the Coast Guard vessel which had been stationed near Howland Island to help Earhart land.

The family members then plotted out a search area based on where they believed the plane was most likely to have gone down, and prepared to take a trip there to examine the area for themselves.

Romeo's real estate interests covered the cost of the trip and the high-tech gear, including an unmanned submersible which scanned 5,200 square miles of ocean floor.

After about a month of searching, the submersible captured the image of an object shaped like a plane lying within 100 miles of Howland Island.

However, the team didn't spot the picture until about 90 days into the trip, when it was too late to turn back.

With the fuzzy image possibly bringing searchers closer than ever before to the discovery of Earhart's plane, experts are now hoping to get their hands on clearer views of the object to confirm - or deny - their suspicions.

Featured Image Credit: Bettmann / Contributor/Getty / Deep Sea Vision

Topics: Travel, US News, Money