Noriti, on the atoll of Nikumaroro, in Kiribati, has recently been suspected of being the crash site of female pilot Amelia Earhart. Amelia Earhart was on a mission to be the first person to fly around the world, in 1937. Her plane had gone down somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, after taking off from Lae, now in Papua New Guinea. Members of the U.S.-based group The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery have evidence suggesting Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan made it safely to Nikumaroro Island in Kiribati. The group has carried out 10 expeditions to the island over the last 22 years, finding three small bone fragments earlier this year. Backing up the group's theory are artifacts members found that date from the 1930s, including a woman's make-up compact, broken mirror and small U.S.-made bottles. "We have every reason to believe that this is the site where Amelia Earhart lived and died as a castaway," says the group's executive director Rick Gillespie.
Other theories over the years have suggested Earhart was eaten by cannibals on Howland Island, captured by the Japanese as a spy and that she returned to the United States after a secret mission and assumed a new identity. As of 3/20/2012 The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery Group, announced that it is launching a new search for the wreckage of Earhart's Lockheed Electra plane in the waters off the remote island of Nikumaroro, in what is now the Pacific nation of Kiribati. The expedition will start in June 2012.
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