The curious case of Amelia Earhart

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

When one hears the name Amelia Earhart, one instantly thinks of a famous woman pilot that disappeared mysteriously. That is correct, but what else do you know?

Amelia Earhart was born in 1897 in Kansas, USA. Her life story is very inspiring. Here are 5 character traits that contributed to her success.

Curious: She volunteered for many years with the Red Cross in Canada, where she treated many pilots wounded in war and heard all about their flying adventures. Her interest in aviation grew after she attended an air show. In 1920, her father bought her a 10 min plane ride that sealed her passion to learn to fly.

Independent and Determined:  She worked very hard to afford flying lessons and bought her own yellow canary bi-plane. She was the 16th women to get a pilot’s license.

Adventurous: She was the first woman to complete many flights that most male pilots had not achieved. She was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean and the first person to fly over both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Inspirational: On the ground, she used her fame to inspire others. She gave talks about the promise of travel, women’s empowerment and even published a book!

Ambitious: Earhart tried to be the first to fly around the world in 1937. Mysteriously, both the plane and Amelia suddenly disappeared without a trace over the Pacific Ocean.

Photo Credit: Scholastic News

People have tried very hard to solve this mystery. The U.S. government decided that she must have crashed somewhere in the Pacific.

There were several theories about her whereabouts: for example, people said that Amelia Earhart and her navigator were taken prisoner by the Japanese, or abducted by aliens, or had returned to the US and were living there under different identities.

However, a new study suggests that her story might finally get an ending!

The study indicates that bones found on the Pacific island of Nikumaroro in 1940—and subsequently lost—could well have been those of Amelia Earhart.

These bones were originally uncovered by a British group exploring the island in 1940.  Several bones, a skull, and part of what appeared to be a woman’s shoe were found.

The 13 bones were shipped to Fiji where two doctors examined them. They thought they belonged to a male. The bones have since disappeared but the measurements survived.

In 2018, a new study was conducted by Richard Jantz, a forensic scientist. Forensic scientists help to solve crimes. In this case, the scientist was just trying to figure out whose bones had been found.

Jantz used a computer program. He fed in her height, weight, body measurements that he got from photos and her pilot’s license. The computer program helped identify the gender and ancestry (origin or background) based on her data. His study showed that Earhart’s bones were very much like the bones found on Nikumaroro.

And so we know now that Earhart was stranded after crash-landing on a lonely island in the Pacific Ocean. She and her navigator died of injury, hunger or thirst.

After many years, we can shift our focus from how Amelia Earhart died to how she lived. A brave lady who challenged many age-old customs and heroically broke and set aviation records for women. Her life story helped women believe that there is nothing they can’t do.

Written by: Shruti Divecha. Shruti was a graphic and textile designer by profession till her curiosity filled daughter pulled out the writer inside her. She writes stories, GK nuggets and teaches recycled crafts to children.


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