For 80 years, the mystery of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance over the Pacific Ocean has persisted in the popular imagination. It was thought that we would never know what happened to the aviation pioneer, her navigator Fred Noonan and their Lockheed monoplane. The general assumption was that the pair crashed near Howland Island in the Pacific due to poor visibility.
But the emergence of a blurry photograph, believed to have been taken in 1937, might shed some light on this mystery. In the image, a man and woman – possibly Noonan and Earhart – stand amid a crowd on a dock in the Marshall Islands; a Japanese Koshu ship appears to be towing Earhart’s plane in the background.
The photograph was sourced from a mislabeled case file in the US National Archives by retired treasury agent Les Kinney, who began looking into Earhart’s disappearance after his retirement. This fresh evidence is to feature in an upcoming documentary on the History Channel (US broadcast: 9th July), which will propose a new theory – Earhart and Noonan were captured by the Japanese and were essentially the first casualties of the conflict between the US and Japan during the Second World War. Potentially, both died in Japanese custody as a result of the international dispute.
The following footage was shot shortly before she began her circumnavigation of the globe.
One day, hopefully we’ll know the true story of how Amelia Earhart’s final flight ended. Until then, we can only wait for more evidence to be discovered.
- The Telegraph, Does this newly discovered photograph prove Amelia Earhart survived plane crash and was captured by the Japanese?
- Washington Post, A newly unearthed photo shows Amelia Earhart survived her final flight, investigators say
- People.com, Does this photograph prove Amelia Earhart survived her final flight?