Did Amelia Earhart, who famously vanished, actually survive a plane crash in the Pacific?
Better yet, was she detained by the Japanese and taken to Saipan, after she was last seen on July 2, 1937?
A new History Channel special suggests that may’ve been the case.
A photo, discovered in a forsaken file in the National Archives, appears to show the pilot, and her navigator, Fred Noonan, on a dock, according to NBC News.
Film taken before Amelia Earhart’s last flight surfaces
Earhart tried to become the first woman pilot to circumnavigate the globe when she disappeared 80 years ago. She was declared dead in 1939 and the U.S. determined that she’d crashed over the Pacific.
The photo hints that she may’ve survived a crash-landing in the Marshall Islands, however.
The photo and the accompanying speculation are featured in a new History Channel special called “Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence,” airing Sunday.
Independent analysts have informed History that the photo may in fact be legitimate. Others who have studied it believe it to be authentic; this includes former Executive Assistant Director for the FBI and NBC News analyst Shawn Henry.
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“…When you see the analysis that’s been done, I think it leaves no doubt to the viewers that that’s Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan,” Henry told NBC News.
In this new scenario, analysts believe that Earhart and Noonan were blown off course, but survived long enough to be photographed by a possible U.S. spy, who’d infiltrated Japanese territory.
The photo — titled “Jaluit Atoll” — depicts a possible Earhart on a dock with her back turned to the camera. She sports pants — similar to ones she’d been known to wear.
Also, the more substantive evidence comes from the alleged Noonan appearance in the photo — showing a receding hairline and similar features, NBC News writes.
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Facial recognition expert Ken Gibson said that the evidence is “very convincing.”
Other independent investigators, such as Les Kinney, who has spent 15 years searching for clues of the Earhart departure, believe that the photo is clear evidence she was “captured by the Japanese.”
The wider image shows the Japanese ship Koshu towing a barge with an object nearly 40 feet in length — possibly Earhart’s airplane?
Executive Producer of the History special, Gary Tarpinian, said, “We believe that the Koshu took her to Saipan [in the Mariana Islands] and that she died there under the custody of the Japanese.”
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“[But] we don’t know how she died. We don’t know when,” he clarified.
In November 2016, reports surfaced of a possible skeletal match to Earhart, suggesting she died on a remote island, not in a plane, the Daily News reported at the time.
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