The disappearance of Amelia Earhart is one of the greatest mysteries in modern history. It’s up there with the true identity of Jack the Ripper, the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, what’s inside Al Capone’s vault (nothing actually) and the whereabouts of DB Cooper. The first female to fly solo across the Atlantic ocean, Earhart disappeared under strange circumstances in 1937 as she was attempting to fly all the way around the globe. She vanished while soaring above the Pacific Ocean near Howland Island. “Gas is running low,” she said in one of her last transmissions. No plane wreckage was ever found and to this day, nobody knows what happened to her. That is, until now.
That’s because a photograph was recently unearthed that could shed some light on what actually happened to the famed author and aviator. The new photo in question was discovered back in 2012 by a retired US Treasury agent name Les Kinney and will be the basis of a new History Channel documentary called Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence that will air this Sunday.
The picture appears to show Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan on a dock in the Marshall Islands. At that time, the islands were occupied by the Japanese and you can see what appears to be her plane on a boat in the background.
The theory is that not only did she not die in a plane crash, but she was held prisoner by the Japanese on that or another island. “I think we proved beyond a reasonable doubt that she survived her flight and was held prisoner by the Japanese on the island of Saipan, where she eventually died,” Shawn Henry, a former executive director of the FBI and producer for the documentary told People.
This theory is corroborated by earlier evidence of the potential bones of Earhart being found on the island of Nikumaroro in the 1940s. Adding to the mystery, nobody can seem to locate the bones, but a record of the bones’ measurements by a British doctor have been found. According to the records, the skeletal remains matched that of Earhart.
Earhart’s disappearance was world news and extensive search and rescue services were deployed to find her. They returned to the US without her and her disappearance remained a mystery for 80 years. But, did they actually find her? “It is not clear why the U.S. might want to cover up what happened to Amelia. If in fact she was spying on the Japanese, the government may not have wanted the American public to know they put ‘America’s sweetheart’ in that situation and she was captured,” said Henry. Was there a cover up? Or did the Japanese hide her? If so, why? For now, that part of the story remains a mystery.