An expedition to test the theory that aviatrix Amelia Earhart survived the crash of her airplane 75 years ago and died a castaway on a desert island has left Hawaii.
The University of Hawaii research ship left the Snug Harbor without fanfare under somber, drizzling skies at the start of a 26-day trip, including eight days at sea each way to Kiribati, in the central Pacific.
"We'll say rain is good luck for us," said Ric Gillespie, executive director of the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery. "It'll be a new tradition.
Undated picture taken in the 1930's of American aviator Amelia Earhart at the controls of her plane. An expedition to test the theory that aviatrix Earhart survived the crash of her airplane 75 years ago and died a castaway on a desert island has left Hawaii.
"We will not be coming up with a solution to the mystery right away when we get on scene eight days from now... but we will bring back to Honolulu images we can send to the experts to verify if we have found part of her aircraft."
The expedition is heading to Nikumaroro island in Kiribati to try to establish whether Earhart survived the apparent crash of her twin-engine Lockheed Electra aircraft.
Gillespie believes the 39-year-old may have survived after her July 2, 1937 disappearance because of a series of clues -- including radio transmissions from the area, reportedly including a call for help, received at the time.
The leader of a south Pacific expedition to solve a 75-year-old mystery over Amelia Earhart's disappearance vowed to leave no stone unturned Tuesday, shortly before setting sail from Hawaii.
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.