Amelia Earhart Mystery: Were Pioneering Aviator's Final Pleas for Help Heard Around the World?

Yet another facet has been added to the enduring mystery of famed female aviator Amelia Earhart.

This time, some 80 years after she and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared, a researcher is claiming it's a mystery solved.

Ric Gillespie has been sniffing for clues about Earhart's final days for decades. Per CBS News, he now says he's got proof she crashed onto a Pacific island 2,000 miles from Hawaii.

Gillespie says he has documentation that shows Earhart radioed for help following the crash and the signals were picked up as far away as Iowa.

Tipped off by the distress calls, Gillespie says U.S. Navy were deployed to their origin.

"It took the battleship a week to get there, by which time the radio signals had stopped, and when the planes flew over the island, they didn't see an airplane," Gillespie said. 

Gillespie believes the Lockheed Model 10 Electra was washed into the sea.

So what happened to Earhart? Separate research released earlier this year claims she died on Nikumaroro Island, where he bones were subsequently discovered.

According to a recent forensic study conducted by a University of Tennessee researcher, analysis showed that the bones once found on the island "have more similarity to Earhart than to 99 percent of individuals in a large reference sample."

The study used cutting edge quantitative techniques to estimate gender, ancestry, and stature from skeletal measurements recorded before the bones were discarded decades ago.

The data were compared to precise measurements of Earhart's humerus and radius lengths made from a photograph, as well as measurements of her clothing.

"Until definitive evidence is presented that the remains are not those of Amelia Earhart, the most convincing argument is that they are hers," wrote study author Richard Jantz, a UT anthropology professor.

The study was recently published in the journal Forensic Anthropology

In addition to these scientific findings, there has long been circumstantial evidence to suggest Earhart landed on Nikumaroro, now a part of Kiribati, in 1937.

Earhart and Noonan disappeared on July 2 of that year while experts say they were en route to Howland Island, a tiny speck of land about 400 miles from Nikumaroro.

While many have long speculated their plane crashed in the Pacific, the study supposes they made it to land, just not the land they intended.

In spite of the tragedy, Earhart remains a revered trailblazer for women in aviation and in all professions dominated by men. She's even been honored with her own holiday. National Amelia Earhart Day was celebrated just this past July 24.

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