Sunday, January 11, 2009

Big response to Amelia Earhart stories

Last week’s stories about a plane wreckage in East New Britain province thought to be that of famed American aviatrix Amelia Earhart has brought back a flood of response.

The National has been inundated with phone calls, emails and visits from people since the publication of the stories and feature article in the Weekender last Friday.

A group of local men claimed to have found a plane wreckage with the Bureau Number 06751.

This brought back a swift response from Craig Fuller of the Aviation Archaeological Investigation & Research (AAIR) in California, USA.

“The 40- serial numbers - the USAAF equivalent of USN Bureau Numbers - only go up to 40-3162, so it is not possibly 40-6751,” he said.

“The USN Bureau Number 06751 is for a Douglas SBD-4 Dauntless.”

According to Fuller’s USN Lost list at, that plane crashed at Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands on June 4, 1943, claiming the life of its pilot Second Lieutenant John H. Fould.

“It is also possible the number found is not the plane's ID number, but another marking altogether,” Fuller added.

Asked if there was any possibility of the wreckage being Eahart’s, he replied: “Personally I do not think so.

“So what I was doing was trying to identify what it is.

“Right now, Douglas SBD-4 Dauntless Bureau Number 06751 is the best candidate.

“While the loss location lists Guadalcanal, that could be an error or where it took off from, or where it was last seen.

“Unfortunately I do not have any more details on that loss other than what is listed.

“Are there any photos of what they have found?”

Australian, Steve Bennett, based in Port Moresby commented: “Amelia broadcasted a radio transmission that was picked up by a US Ship at Howland Island, out past Kiribati.

“After leaving Lae, Howland was her next destination and final stop before trying to get to Hawaii.

“She never landed at Howland.

“She did confirm that she had passed Nukumanu Islands, which is the most Eastern part of PNG that she crossed and if she did go down in PNG, then Nukumanu is the place to look... not in East or West New Britain.

“But, if they do find it in the jungles up in the Bainings then good on 'em.

“That is one plane that should really be returned to the US.

“WW2 wreckage should remain in PNG.”

Papua New Guinean student studying in China, Mathew Yakai, said: “This puzzle must be solved for once and all, I guess.”

1 comment:

  1. Hi Malum,

    Just to let you know, the information that I sent in my last post to the potential Earhart discovery is just information that is readily available online. My source doesn't have a great deal of credence but it does make for interesting reading. And for the record, I'm an Australian living in Moresby.