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By Rossella Lorenzi - News Discovery
The search for Amelia Earhart's long-lost aircraft will resume next year in the waters off Nikumaroro, an uninhabited island in the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati where the legendary pilot may have died as a castaway.
Starting about the middle of August 2014, the 30-day expedition will be carried out by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), which has long been investigating the last, fateful flight taken by Earhart 76 years ago.
Called Niku VIII, the new expedition is expected to cost as much as $3 million. It will rely on two Hawaiian Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL) manned submersibles, Pisces IV and Pisces V, each carrying a pilot and two TIGHAR observers.
“The plan for Niku VIII is built on the hard data gathered and the hard lessons learned during the previous expeditions carried out in 2010 and 2012,” Ric Gillespie, executive director of TIGHAR, said in a statement.
Equipped with high definition video, still cameras, mechanical arms and recovery baskets, the subs will search a mile-long underwater area down to a depth of more than 3000 feet.
“Live searching by three people aboard each sub looking at wide vistas illuminated by powerful lights is far superior to searching by looking remotely via the toilet-paper tube view provided by a video camera on an ROV,” Gillespie said.
The tall, slender, blond pilot mysteriously vanished while flying over the Pacific Ocean on July 2, 1937, during a record attempt to fly around the world at the equator.