What Do We Think Happened to Amelia Earhart?

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It’s been over 80 years since Amelia Earhart was declared legally dead on January 5, 1939. But news of the court-ordered announcement didn’t create many waves — after all, Earhart had already been missing for 18 months.

On July 2, 1937, Earhart and her navigator, famed aviation pioneer Fred Noonan, disappeared from radio contact while attempting to circumnavigate the globe. Search parties scanned the Pacific for months in hopes of finding evidence of the plane’s remains, or more optimistically, a sign that the world’s most famous female pilot survived.

Earhart’s story has evolved into a legendary tale of exploration and mystery, but people are still hunting for her story’s true final chapter. Did her plane actually crash? Why was the year-and-a-half-long hunt so futile, and will we ever uncover the truth?