Three pieces of a pocket knife and fragments of what might be a broken cosmetic glass jar are adding new evidence that Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan landed and eventually died as castaways on Nikumaroro, an uninhabited tropical island in the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati. The island was some 300 miles southeast of their target destination, Howland Island.
“These objects have the potential to yield DNA, specifically what is known as ‘touch DNA’,'” Ric Gillespie, executive director of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), told Discovery News in an email interview from Nikumaroro.
Gillespie and his team will be searching the tiny island until June 14 for evidence that Earhart’s twin-engine plane, the “Electra,” did not crash in the ocean and sink, as it was assumed after the futile massive search that followed the aviatrix’s disappearance on July 2, 1937.
Tall, slender, blonde and brave, Earhart was flying over the Pacific Ocean in a record attempt to fly around the world at the equator. In her final radio transmission Earhart reported that her aircraft was running low on fuel.
According to Gillespie, recent advances in the ability to extract DNA from touched objects might help solve the enduring aviation mystery.