Some media reports got it wrong.
"Amelia Earhart search fails to find clues," read one July 24 headline. "Search for plane wreckage yields nothing," declared another.
But it's way too soon to slap labels, like failure, on the recent $2.2 million undersea search near a remote Pacific island that was documented for a Discovery Channel special set to air Sunday at 10 p.m.
"The jury is still very much out on this trip," said expedition organizer Ric Gillespie. ". . . "We're just now getting to the point were we can review the video to see what we saw."
Only this weekend was high-resolution video delivered to West Coast forensic imagining specialist Jeff Glickman for analysis, said Gillespie, executive director of a The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), based in Wilmington, Del.
"It's been a big job just getting the footage in viewable format," he said.
In mid-July, off the island of Nikumaroro, in waters too deep to dive, a ship-tethered remote-operated vehicle (ROV) spent days relaying fuzzy images of a steep sea bottom coated with sediment and strewn with clumps of coral that can mimic metal shapes.
"We could have easily missed something in the real-time standard-definition video that will show up in the high definition," Gillespie said.
Detecting sediment-covered parts of a Lockheed Model 10 Electra isn't like recognizing the Titanic, he said.
Also just starting to be scrutized: "volumes" of side-scanning sonar data collected by a torpedo-like autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), which roamed almost a mile down.
If new clues are found in time, the hope is to reveal them on Sunday's show. Thoroughly examining all of the images and data, though, could continue for weeks or even months.
Science takes time, Gillespie said, noting that he's still waiting from results of a third round of DNA testing on bone fragments found during a 2010 visit to the tiny uninhabited atoll, part of the Republic of Kiribati.
New findings or not, the show shouldn't lack for intrigue and adventure, Gillespie said, as it recounts the history of the mystery, lays out tantalizing though inconclusive clues collected by TIGHAR over seven expeditions since 1988, and chronicles mission-jeopardizing setbacks encountered during the latest search.
The evidence fits the theory that Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan crashed off the island, where she may have lived her final days, perhaps using a spear fashioned with a knife to catch birds and fish, Gillespie said.
A 1937 report by Navy flyers spoke of signs of "recent habitation" on the island. An American-style woman's shoe, consistent with ones Earhart wore, was discovered during a 1991 TIGHAR expedition. Evidence of a campfire was found in 1997, consistent with reports that near the camp site, a bottle, a can and human bones were found. A doctor's 1941 analysis concluded those since-lost bones were from a man, but an expert told TIGHAR the measurements were more consistent with a woman.
The latest expedition was launched in early July with much fanfare, because even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed support in March after the discovery of a 1937 photograph showed what could be landing gear sticking out of the water off Nikumaroro.