16. Ballard meticulously searched the area near the wreck of the Norwich City
The Bevington photograph revealed the assumed piece of landing gear several hundred yards distant from the port side of what remained of SS Norwich City. Ballard’s 2019 search focused on that area, along the sides of the seamount as it descended to the bottom. They pored over the ledges and cliff, the chutes and ridges, to a depth below 8,000 feet. The chutes were of particular interest since they evidently funneled debris downward. They discovered numerous rock formations which resembled the item in the enhanced Bevington photograph, so many of them they took to calling them landing gear rocks. The searchers found other items as well, recovered them using Hercules‘ robotic arm, and brought them aboard Nautilus for examination.
They found a hat, lost during the expedition by the ship’s navigator. Researchers found a small aluminum disc, which they determined to be the bottom of a soda can. They found a small, shiny, metallic panel, far too flexible to have been part of the skin of an aircraft. Heavier items they expected to locate, such as the aircraft’s engines, or its radios, or parts of the landing gear, eluded them. Eventually, they searched up to four miles out to sea, away from the island, in case the Electra glided in the water as it sank. They found no evidence of the airplane. In short, they found nothing which could be connected to Earhart’s aircraft, or for that matter, any aircraft. Though they searched for two weeks, answers to the Amelia Earhart mystery eluded them.