His group, TIGHAR
, has tried to debunk the photo, and Gillespie still thinks the "overwhelming weight of the evidence" points to Nikumororo.
In November of 1988, TIGHAR
launched the Earhart Project for the purpose of "investigating the Earhart/Noonan disappearance according to accepted academic standards and using sound scientific methodology," according to its website.
The History Channel show completely ignored the elephant in the room - the abundance of solid evidence TIGHAR
has uncovered in twelve expeditions and over 28 years of scientific research," Gillespie added in a separate press release.
He contends that TIGHAR
discovered the wreckage years ago, but concealed the evidence in an effort to get more funding for unnecessary searches.
According to TIGHAR
, the 18-person research crew aims to locate, identify, and photograph any and all surviving aircraft wreckage that they believe may be in the deep waters surrounding Nikumaroro (formerly Gardner Island), an uninhabited coral atoll in the southwestern-Pacific Republic of Kiribati.
is working closely with Texas A&M University's conservation laboratory on the methods to be used to preserve the wreck after its removal.
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.
While there are many theories that have emerged regarding Earheart's disappearance, Gillespie and TIGHAR
don't stand behind this one.
The aircraft recovery group contends that Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, crash-landed on the isolated South Pacific atoll of Nikumaroro, although TIGHAR
says it has not yet found the plane.
Ric Gillespie, executive director of TIGHAR
told Discovery News that for 25 years they struggled to bring out details from a handful of printed images, however, he said that they now have at their disposal an array of detailed aerial images of every part of the atoll.
Working with TIGHAR
, Phoenix used the AUV to search the deep waters around the small island of Nikumaroro in the Western Pacific, believed by many to be where Earhart crash landed.
NYSE: FDX) said it is supporting the search for answers to the enduring mystery of the disappearance of aviator Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Electra during a South Pacific leg of her 1937 global journey with the transportation of underwater investigative equipment set for use by TIGHAR
(The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery) in its upcoming Earhart Project expedition.