Yet another search - this one costing $500,000 - for signs of Amelia Earhart's plane will begin in June around the Pacific island of Nikumaroro, but a 53-year-old high school teacher from Washington state thinks that is a waste of time and money.
Dick Spink believes Earhart's plane landed in the Marshall Islands on a tiny atoll, Mili. "The world needs to know this," Spink said, according to National Geographic. "I heard a consistent story from too many people in the Marshalls to dismiss it. They say, 'She landed at Mili. Our uncles and aunts, our parents, and our grandparents know she landed here.'"
"I feel like the key to the Earhart mystery has just been handed to me," Spink added, according to Newser.
Spink has so far spent $50,000 of his own money searching for proof that Earhart landed on Mili, 800 miles southeast of her intended fuel stop at Howard Island - and he might have found it.
Spink discovered two artifacts from the reefs of the Marshall Islands (a small aluminum cover plate and a circular metal dust cover from a landing-gear wheel assembly). Spink believes both artifacts came from the Earhart airplane when she and her navigator vanished July 2, 1937. Scientists from Alcoa, the plane's aluminum supplier, are comparing the 77-year-old pieces found by Spink to a piece that was removed from her plane during an early 1937 repair in California.
"This is the first time that somebody has offered hard evidence from the Marshall Islands that can be traced to Earhart's Electra," said Carol Linn Dow, a Texas pilot and Earhart author, according to a January press release. "There's no evidence of any U.S. or Japanese aircraft being shot down or disabled in that part of Milli Atoll. So where would these artifacts have come from? In all likelihood, it came off Earhart's plane."