via press release:
WILL DISCOVERY FINALLY SOLVE THE MYSTERY OF AMELIA EARHART?
Network Sponsors Groundbreaking Research and Recovery Mission
(Honolulu, HI) Discovery Channel and TIGHAR (The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery) depart Tuesday morning, July 3, 2012, from Honolulu for what they hope will be the final mission searching for evidence of Earhart’s long-lost Lockheed Electra aircraft. The on-board activities and underwater findings of the Niku VII7 expedition will be captured exclusively by Discovery and broadcast as a documentary this coming August. Over the course of the 26-day expedition, the eighteen-person research crew aims to locate, identify, and photograph any and all surviving aircraft wreckage that they believe may still be in the deep waters surrounding Nikumaroro (formerly Gardner Island), an uninhabited coral atoll in the southwestern-Pacific Republic of Kiribati.
“This is when Discovery truly embodies its namesake. We are excited and proud to be working with TIGHAR, paying tribute to an American icon and hero while developing new technologies to reach back into the past and solve one of the last great mysteries of the 20th century,” said Eileen O’Neill, group president of Discovery Channel and TLC Networks.
The underwater search will focus on the reef slope off the west end of Nikumaroro, where waters can reach depths of up to 1,500 meters (4,921 feet). This deep-water search is made possible by the use of specialized robotic equipment brought in from the continental U.S. courtesy of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX), a long-standing supporter of TIGHAR and itself an aviation history-maker as the pioneer of overnight delivery.
“The search for answers in the Earhart mystery has been a decades-long passion for all the members of TIGHAR,” said Richard Gillespie, TIGHAR Executive Director & Expedition Leader. “The exhaustive research leading up to today’s departure gives us great hope that the Niku VII7 expedition will provide conclusive answers in the search for Earhart’s final landing place,” he added.