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Pilot says he's found Amelia Earhart's long-lost plane

Tony Romeo funded an $11 million deep-sea expedition and claims his team found Amelia Earhart's plane at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
Posted at 10:02 PM, Jan 29, 2024

In the 1930's, Amelia Earhart was an icon, a record-breaking aviator and author as famous as Taylor Swift.

So, when the 39-year old and her navigator Fred Noonan vanished while attempting to fly around he world in 1937, the search captured the attention of the world. 

Earhart's disappearance set off one of the biggest unsolved mysteries of the last 87 years, until possibly now.

A grainy sonar image shows might be Earhart's Lockheed Electra at the bottom of the ocean. Tony Romeo, CEO of a deepwater exploration company Deep Sea Vision, and his team made the discovery on a recent expedition.

"The dimensions of the plane fit very closely to what we'd expect from an aircraft," Romeo tells Scripps News. "One of the most distinctive characters of a plane was a twin vertical stabilizer in the back. And those, you know, those are very distinctive. And you can clearly see them on sonar images."

Romeo is a former Air Force intelligence officer and a pilot. He's also a successful entrepreneur who decided to sell his commercial real estate properties and start a deep-sea exploration company.

"I decided I wanted something more adventurous, basically," he says. "It's a story that's fascinated me for so long. My brothers and I, we started talking like, 'Why is this not been solved? The technology is out there. Why can't we do this?'"

Romeo spent $11 million and about three months searching. But the team didn't discover the apparent plane shape in the sonar images until the end of the expedition. It was too late at that point to turn back.

Skeptics say there's no way to know for sure if the mystery is solved without a closer look. Romeo is already planning a new expedition with better equipment that he hopes will one day discover the truth.

"It resonates with everybody. Every age group, old, young. My daughter in first grade has learned about her and knows about her," Romeo says. "I think that's a testament to her story, a true great American story."