Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute

Harbor Branch part of hush-hush search for Amelia Earhart's plane

Research Vessel Seward Johnson

From TCPalm

Now it can be told: About 20 staffers from the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute took part in a hush-hush search for Amelia Earhart’s plane in the depths of the Pacific Ocean during spring 2009.

Now it can be admitted: They didn’t find the wreckage of the Lockheed Electra 10E aircraft that disappeared July 2, 1937, as Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan attempted an around-the-world flight.

But now it can be said: Members of the expedition still deem it a success because of the scientific information compiled and discoveries made along the way, including a new species of deep-water fish and the mapping of about 2,500 nautical square miles of the ocean floor, much of it within the newly established Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

“Finding Amelia’s plane was certainly not a sure thing,” said Lee Frey, senior ocean engineer at the Harbor Branch division of Florida Atlantic University and project manager of the expedition, “so we built a good scientific plan to make sure the mission was successful. As a result, we did some very useful science in a very unexplored part of the world.”