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Expedition leaves Hawaii seeking fate of US aviator

  • 4 Jul 2012
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (AFP)
American aviator Amelia Earhart at the controls of her plane

Earhart was flying with navigator Fred Noonan during the final stage of an ambitious round-the-world flight along the equator at the time that her plane disappeared.

The holder of several aeronautical records -- including the first woman to cross the Atlantic by air -- Earhart had set off from New Guinea to refuel at Howland Island for a final long-distance hop to California.

In what turned out to be her final radio message, she declared she was unable to find Howland and that fuel was running low.

Several search-and-rescue missions ordered by then-president Franklin Roosevelt turned up no trace of Earhart or Noonan, who were eventually presumed dead at sea.

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