Les Kinney is a friend to the Hawaii Clipper Project and has conducted research for us at the National Archives just outside Washington DC. We felt compelled to share a recent note on an attack by TIGHAR on his theory:
Gillespie (TIGHAR) does not tell you the following information about his theory:
In October of 1937, Nikumaroro (Gardner Island) was colonized by over 50 natives who stayed on the island for several years. At least one died on the island and possibly more. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume there was a substantial amount of human trash on the island. (The natives were supplied with provisions every few month by ship)
In the early 1950’s, the US Coast Guard built a Loran station …on the island. For several years, dozens of Coast Guardsmen called Gardner home. They were often bored and hiked over every inch of the island. Not one ever came forward and said they found evidence of Earhart and Noonan.
A few days after Earhart and Noonan disappeared, three U.S. open cockpit bi-planes each with a pilot and observer flew from 50 feet to 500 hundred feet over Gardner Island (two miles long and less than 400 yards wide) at its fattest point) for 30 minutes looking for signs of Earhart and Noonan. These planes were noisy. They spent enough time to fly five passes back and forth over the island. Guess what? Earhart never came out of the jungle. Maybe Amelia was applying freckle cream and thought that was more important?
There are enough coconut palms, fish, large crabs, and edible plants on Gardner to sustain human life for years. In 1937, the fish were so thick swimming inside the rusted hulk of an abandoned ship, you could catch them with your hands. Yet, somehow Gillespie and TIGHAR seem to think Earhart and Noonan might have died of starvation.
Gillespie claims a small piece of aluminum, no bigger than a car window came from the Electra. It was found on the island in 1992, half buried by sand on the beach. Yet again, somehow the Electra itself was washed away into the depth of the ocean.