Amelia Earhart mystery: Hillary Clinton announces U.S. support of new search

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced on Tuesday the State Department's support of a new search to solve the mystery of aviator Amelia Earhart, whose plane went missing over the South Pacific nearly 75 years ago.

At an event in Washington to celebrate Earhart's legacy, Clinton and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood met with a group of scientists from the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, which is launching a new search for the wreckage of Earhart's plane in June. Earhart and Fred Noonan disappeared on July 2, 1937, during a flight from New Guinea to Howland Island in the South Pacific. Their plane never arrived.

"We can be as optimistic, audacious as Earhart," Clinton said. "There is great honor and possibility in the search itself."

The group plans to search for Earhart's Lockheed Electra plane off the remote island of Nikumaroro. The Discovery Channel is also supporting the privately funded, half-million dollar search.

The effort was inspired, in part, by a photo uncovered in 2010 that researchers say may show the wheel of Earhart's plane in the water off the South Pacific island.

"It has been 75 years since she became first pilot, man or woman, to fly the longest equatorial route around the world," Clinton said. "The point of all of these flights is to realize what can be done."

The event was also intended to underscore America's "commitment to seizing new opportunities for cooperation with Pacific neighbors founded on the United States' long history of engagement in the Asia-Pacific region," the State Department said.

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