This Day in History: Aviator Amelia Earhart vanishes over the Pacific Ocean


On July 2, 1937, aviator Amelia Earhart vanished while attempting to fly around the globe.

Born 1897 in Atchison, Kansas, Earhart took up aviation at the age of 24. She was regarded as one of the first female aviators.

In 1928, publisher George P. Putnam invited her to become the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.

While her only job on the voyage was to keep the plane’s log, the flight won her great fame.

She was dubbed “Lady Lindy” and given a White House reception by President Calvin Coolidge.

In 1931, Earhart married Putnam and continued her flying career under her maiden name. The next year, she completed the first nonstop transatlantic flight by a woman.

She landed on May 21 after flying more than 2,000 miles in just under 15 hours.

Three months later, Earhart became the first woman to fly solo nonstop across the continental United States.

Earhart first attempted a round-the-world flight in March of 1937. However, her Lockheed aircraft was seriously damaged during a takeoff and the trip was called off.

On June 1, Earhart left Miami in another attempt along with Frederick Noonan, her navigator. After stops in South America, Africa, India and Southeast Asia, they arrived on June 29 at Lae, New Guinea.

With 22,000 miles down, the last 7,000 would be over the Pacific Ocean. The next destination was Howland Island, which was just a few miles long.

Several U.S. ships were deployed to aid Earhart and Noonan in this difficult leg of their journey. As Earhart approached the island, she radioed one of the ships and said she was low on fuel.

Communication was difficult and the ship was unable to offer navigational information.

Soon, contact was lost and it is assumed Earhart tried to land the aircraft in the water. If her landing went perfectly, they might have had time to escape the aircraft before it sank.

However, an intensive search by the Coast Guard and U.S. Navy found no evidence of the flyers or their plane.

By Chelsea Robinson

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