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Wash. Forensic Analyst Aids Search For Amelia Earhart

A forensic imaging specialist from Woodinville, Washington is lending his analytic skills to the latest search for the pioneer aviator Amelia Earhart. This analyst discovered a possible upturned landing gear in a historic photo of a tropical atoll. A $2 million expedition to that South Pacific location takes place this summer.

A newspaper article more than a decade ago prompted private forensic examiner Jeff Glickman to volunteer his services. The Northwest man joined a team trying to solve the enduring mystery of Amelia Earhart. The trailblazing aviatrix disappeared over the South Pacific in 1937.

Does this photo show the location where Amelia Earhart's plane crashed in 1937? The red box surrounds what Jeff Glickman believes could be a landing gear. Photo via The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery
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Does this photo show the location where Amelia Earhart's plane crashed in 1937? The red box surrounds what Jeff Glickman believes could be a landing gear. Photo via The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery

Glickman reviewed grainy, black-and-white photos of an uninhabited coral atoll called Nikumaroro.

"I noticed something in this one image that just wasn't quite right," he says.

Something is sticking out of the water at the edge of a British Navy sailor's landscape photo taken a few months after Earhart vanished.

"There are telltale signs that lend themselves to strongly suggest that it is in fact a landing gear," Glickman says.

Which appears to match Earhart's airplane.

The non-profit International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery plans a high-tech underwater search this summer to see if they can locate any wreckage at the spot Glickman identified.

Previous expeditions have targeted this South Pacific island. Searchers found possible relics of a castaway but nothing directly traceable to Amelia Earhart.

Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan in May 1937. Photo via Wikimedia Commons
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Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan in May 1937. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

On the Web:

The Earhart Project search:

http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/AEdescr.html

"The Bevington Photo" - Hiding in plain sight?

http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/Bulletins/57_Bevingtonphoto/57_HidinginSight.htm

Jeff Glickman's forensic image processing company is called Photek:

http://www.photekimaging.com/index.html

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

Tom Banse covers national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reports from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events are unfolding. Tom's stories can be found online and heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.