New evidence has emerged in the quest to unravel the mystery of what happened to Amelia Earhart. Earhart was an American aviation pioneer, whose Lockheed Electra plane went missing somewhere over the South Pacific, 75 years ago.

A report yesterday (March 20, 2012), from the Los Angeles Times, reveals that a photograph, taken in 1937 (just months after her plane had vanished without a trace) shows what is thought to be the landing gear of her plane, sticking out of the water, near to the remote island of Nikumaroro, now part of the Pacific nation of Kiribati. "Enhanced analysis" of the photograph has taken place and a group of historians, salvagers and scientists will now head to the site, to search for further evidence. They are hoping to find the wreckage of the plane and possibly even the remains of Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan. The executive director of the group, Ric Gillespie has said that although the evidence is "circumstantial," he also describes it as "strong."

At the time of her disappearance on July 2, 1937, extensive searches revealed no wreckage, leading several leading historians on the matter to conclude that Earhart had, indeed crashed into the ocean. The new search investigation has been privately funded and is supported by the US State Department. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said "Amelia Earhart may have been an unlikely heroine for a nation down on its luck, but she embodies the spirit of an America coming of age. She gave people hope and she inspired them to dream bigger and bolder."