AMELIA EARHART IS LOST IN PACIFIC
FAILS TO LAND ON ISLAND DOT; SEARCH STARTS
Radio Message Tells How Gas Ran Out Over Ocean Waste
THEN LONG SILENCE
Plane May Float On Its Large Gas Tanks Is Belief
Honolulu, July 2—(AP)— Search for Amelia Earhart and her navigator has begun today by the coast guard cutter Itasca, only vessel within several hundred miles of tiny Howland island, where the aviatrix was long overdue in a daring flight across the south Pacific.
The cutter, stationed at Howland to assist the fliers as they arrived after a 2,570-mile flight from Lae, New Guinea, set out at 2 p.m. (7:30 p.m. EST) to hunt the missing plane, the last message from which, six hours previously, reported only a 30-minute fuel supply.
Coast Guardsmen here have expressed belief that aviation's first lady and her companion had overshot the minute island and landed in the vast mid-pacific region far removed from shipping lanes.
The cutter prepared to search the little known area northwest of Howland, which is a treeless sand spit only a mile and a half long.
The next nearest land is Baker Island, a similar mid-Pacific dot 40 miles north of Howland. Outside of these virtual sandbars there is nothing but water for hundreds of miles.
Some aviation authorities express belief the twin-motored land plane in which Miss Earhart was flying around the world could survive a sea landing if weather conditions were good.
Paul Mantz, Miss Earhart's aviation adviser in Burbank, Calif, said the plane could float "almost indefinitely" because of six gasoline tanks with a capacity of more than 1,000 gallons.
"I am convinced that she would be able to keep afloat long enough for any vessel within several miles to reach her," Mantz said.
Fuel supply Gone
A message from Miss Earhart's plane at 7:42 a.m. Howland time (1:12 p.m. EST) said that she only had a 30-minute supply of fuel and had not sighted the tiny island.
Prolonged silence after receipt of the message spurred the coast guardsman to the hunt.
Reports preceding the final message indicated the $80,000 "laboratory plane" had been battling headwinds which had drawn heavily upon the fuel supply.
A message at 6:46 a.m., less then an hour before the report telling of the fuel shortage, indicated the plane was 100 miles from Howland .
The cutter said there was "no possibility" that the plane could remain aloft until noon, Howland time, at which time the surface vessel planned to quit the islet station and start this search.
Coast guardsman here consulted army authorities about the possibilities of sending land or sea searching parties form Honolulu. The coast guard command in Washington instructed its officers here to do everything possible.
George Palmer, Miss Earhart's husband, showed grave concern as he waited in Oakland, Calif., for word of the plane. Mrs. Noonan, who also was in Oakland, expressed belief, however, that the the fliers would be saved.
Miss Earhart is no stranger to ocean flying emergencies and Noonan, former navigator of trans-Pacific clippers, is noted for his ability is in that line.
The noted woman flier went through her first flying emergency in 1928 when she and Wilmer Stutz and Lou Gordon flew across the Atlantic through fog clouds and cross winds and landed in Wales.
In 1935 she flew across the Atlantic alone. In January, 1936, she flew solo from Honolulu to Oakland, across 2,400 miles of the Pacific.
Plane Cracks Up
Starting off last spring on her first attempt at a world circling flight in the equatorial regions, Miss Earhart Flew from Oakland to Honolulu but cracked up there in attempt to take off for Howland island, more than 1,500 miles to the south.
As in many previous brushes with potential death, Miss Earhart again escaped injury, shipped her plane back to California and determined to start again.
Once more she left Oakland last May, determined to fly around the world, this time in a easterly direction. On June 1st she left Miami, Fla., flew to South America, across the Atlantic to Africa, over Arabia, India and Australia to British New Guinea.
Arriving at Lae, New Guinea, June 28, Miss Earhart and her navigator awaited a favorable opportunity for the attempt to negotiate the unflown 2,570 miles to Howland island, the tiny dot of land which represents the United States frontier in the south Pacific and which is regarded as a potential stepping stone on a air line between the Pacific coast and the Antipodes.
They left Lae at 10 a. m. local time, July 2nd, which was 7 p. m. Thursday, eastern standard time.
Help is offered in Plane Search
Washington, July 2—(AP)— Admiral William D. Leahy chief of naval operations, instructed the commandant of the naval station at Honolulu tonight to render whatever aid he may deem practicable in the search for Amelia Earhart.
Leahy acted after receiving word from the coast guard that Miss Earhart was believed to have been forced down in the the Pacific in the vicinity of Howland Island.
A number of fast surface vessels, mostly destroyers, are now at Honolulu, as well as more than a score of long-range naval bombing planes.
The commandant at Honolulu has direction to employ planes and ships in the search if weather and other conditions permit.
Honolulu is approximately 1,600 miles from Howland.
The coast guard headquarters have received information that Miss Earhart probably overshot tiny Howland Island because she was blinded by the glare of an ascending sun.
The message from the coast guard cutter Itasca said it was believed Miss Earhart passed Northwest of Howland island about 2:20 p. m. (EST), or about 8 a. m. Howland Island time.
The cutter's skipper expressed belief the Earhart plane had descended into the sea within 100 miles of Howland.
The battle force commander at Pearl Harbor later sent word to the navy department that he was prepared to send a patrol plane to Howland Island to assist in the search.
He said the forecast was for continued fair weather in the vicinity of Howland for the next four days. It would not be practicable, he added, to send more then one plane, because only one can be tendered at Howland.