Amelia Earhart’s birthday (and the lawsuit over the search for her plane)

Amelia Earhart was born 116 years ago today on July 24, 1897 while the anniversary of her July 2, 1937 disappearance was just a few weeks ago. To this day, we still don’t know for certain what happened to her, but you might not know that from a lawsuit that’s been filed against the group searching for her lost aircraft.

File:AE-Fred.jpgAccording to a local Wyoming paper (Side note: The construction of a cabin intended to be Earhart’s summer home in the state was never completed due to her disappearance), local Timothy Mellon (the son of Paul Mellon, as in the Mellon banking fortune and Carnegie Mellon University) is suing The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) for withholding the news of the discovery of Earhart’s aircraft in order to squeeze $1 million from him to pay for a later, superfluous search.

Earhart’s aircraft being found may come as news to history buffs, but the lawsuit asserts that video footage from a 2010 expedition near Nikumaroro, an island in the South Pacific, shows wreckage of her Lockheed Electra (and speculation that she died as a castaway on the island is a very plausible scenario).

Apparently, Mellon thinks he sees “human remains, a toilet and a toilet seat, a banjo and case and toilet paper rolls” in some of the pictures or videos posted on the TIGHAR website. However, TIGHAR Executive Director Richard Gillespie has told the Star-Tribune:

“I have looked at that video 100 times, and there’s nothing there but coral, I wish there was! I’ve been searching for Amelia Earhart for 25 years. If there was anything there, I would be all over it.”

TIGHAR’s attorneys have filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

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