Earhart’s Final Hours: Life, Disappearance, and Legacy
West Point Press
"On July 2, 1937, Earhart took off in her Lockheed Electra for the last time from Lae, New Guinea, leaving for the last leg of her circumnavigation of the globe. Her navigator, Fred Noonan, was tasked with ensuring that they made it to their next destination, Howland Island. It would be dark at their expected arrival time, so, it was imperative that their calculated route flew them close enough to the island to see the lights of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter, the Itasca, which would be awaiting their arrival to guide them in and ensure a safe landing on the small, uninhabited island. In an unexpected turn of events, Earhart and Noonan would never arrive at Howland, prompting a massive search-and-rescue mission for the missing persons. Eventually, the U.S Navy released a report stating that the aviators’ cause of death was drowning, after assuming that they ran out of fuel and subsequently crashed into the ocean..."
Carmack, Alexandra. “Earhart’s Final Hours: Life, Disappearance, and Legacy.” West Point Undergraduate Historical Review. Volume 13 (Spring 2023): 101-114.