Sunday, June 17, 2018

Dr. Renato LaRocca: Louisville doctor looking to help uncover mystery of Amelia Earhart

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB)-- Her flight around the globe captivated the world, ending in a mystery that's stumped investigators for more than 80 years. What happened to Amelia Earhart?

"No one has been able to find any clear proof of what happened," said Dr. Renato LaRocca, who spends his days at the Norton Cancer Institute diagnosing and treating high-grade brain tumors. Now he's using his diagnostic skills to help solve the ultimate cliffhanger.

Last summer, Dr. LaRocca was part of a group of about 40 people lead by the the international group for historic aircraft recovery or TIGHAR. The group headed to Nikumaroro, an uninhabited island 1,500 miles north of Fiji. It's there, where they believe Earhart's voyage ended.

"Amelia Earhart did not perish in the ocean. She landed on an island about 300 miles south of the island she was supposed to land on," said Dr. LaRocca.

For five days, the team made up of researchers and climatologists scoured the island for clues. Some searched for bone fragments, a part of their theory based on a skeleton found on the island just a few years after Earhart vanished.

"A British solider lands there. He writes could this be Amelia Earhart? The bones get sent back to Fiji," said Dr. LaRocca. "Those bones get lost but that was one of the big stories."

Trained scuba divers checked the coral reef for aircraft debris after a large metal piece was spotted during a former expedition.

"It looks strikingly like an upside down landing gear sticking out of the water," he said.

LaRocca's small group headed to the part of the island where they believe Earhart may have landed.

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