Amelia Earhart disappeared 77 years ago, but 2014 is turning out to be a banner year for her. Her namesake completed a memorial flight around the world, reenacting the original Earhart's infamous flight (without so much of a tragic ending). Now, a group believes that they have found a piece of Earhart's ill-fated plane.
The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) announced in a press release that they had positively identified a piece of aluminum as belonging to Amelia Earhart's plane. The fragment was discovered on Nikomuaroro, a remote island in the Pacific in 1991, but was only recently identified as a patch from Earhart's plane, which was attached to the aircraft in Miami prior to her attempt to circumnavigate the world in 1937.
TIGHAR found that the artifact had a pattern of rivets unique to her aircraft, based on pictures of the plane prior to its disappearance, as well as comparisons to a surviving Lockheed Electra (the same type of plane Earhart was flying in when she disappeared.) The non-profit group has focused on Nikomuaroro for years, believing that instead of crashing in the Pacific after they ran out of fuel, Earhart and her navigator crash landed on the island's reef, and survived for some time before Earhart perished weeks or months after the crash.