Written by Frank Cotolo
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Topics: Paris

Thursday, 17 June 2004

image for Search party ends work to find Amelia Earhart
The sometimes pretty, sometimes homely woman pilot.

PARIS -- The search for Amelia Earhart is over.

After decades of searching for the pilot and her lost plane, a crew of Frenchmen who have been looking since she was "officially lost" have given up.

"We quit," said Brian LuPonte, now in his 80s. "There is nowhere else to look and we are very tired."

The search party was established in 1938, a year after Ms. Earhart's disappearance. All of the men in the party are now either in their 80s or late 70s.

In 1937, as Earhart neared her 40th birthday, she was ready for a monumental, and final, challenge. She wanted to be the first woman to fly around the world. A determined Earhart had the twin engine Lockheed Electra rebuilt for the trip.

"But she didn't make it," said now former searcher Rene Boulier. "We looked everywhere, even under water and we are very tired of doing so."

The search crew did not miss a spot, they said.

"We put on all of that heavy scuba gear more than once," said 90-year-old Claude Monet. "And when we did it last year, I lost my breath really quick."

The head of the party, Francois Clique, said, "We are sorry for the family, friends and whoever else may still care about this woman but, really, what can one do? She's gone and we are going fast so toodaloo to her and this project."

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