Monday 26 February 2018

The photo that shows Amelia Earhart did not die in crash but was 'captured by Japanese'

Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean but when attempting to fly around the world in 1937, her plane crashed and Earhart was declared missing and eventually dead. Photo: AP
Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean but when attempting to fly around the world in 1937, her plane crashed and Earhart was declared missing and eventually dead. Photo: AP

Barney Henderson

A newly discovered photograph proves that Amelia Earhart did not die in a plane crash but was captured by the Japanese, experts have claimed 80 years after her disappearance.

The photograph was found in a former "top secret" file at the US National Archives and is believed to have been taken in 1937 - the same year Ms Earhart disappeared during her round-the-world flight attempt.

A photograph from the US National Archive which it is claimed shows Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan in the Marshall Islands in 1937
A photograph from the US National Archive which it is claimed shows Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan in the Marshall Islands in 1937

It had been generally accepted that Ms Earhart, and her navigator Fred Noonan, died on July 2, 1937, when their plane crashed close to Howland Island in the central Pacific Ocean, amid poor visibility and low fuel levels.

A new documentary, 'Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence' on the History channel, however, argues that the photograph proves Ms Earhart and Mr Noonan were picked up by the Japanese military, who believed they were spies, and taken prisoner.

It states the pair had crash-landed in the Japanese-held Marshall Islands.

The film also proposes that the US government knew of Ms Earhart's whereabouts and did nothing to rescue her.

In this undated photo, Amelia Earhart, the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean by plane sits on top of a plane. Photo: AP
In this undated photo, Amelia Earhart, the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean by plane sits on top of a plane. Photo: AP

In the documentary, the photograph is subjected to facial-recognition and other forensic testing. It is judged authentic, and likely to be that of Ms Earhart and Mr Noonan.

"When you see the analysis that's been done, I think it leaves no doubt to the viewers," Shawn Henry, a former executive assistant director for the FBI, told 'NBC News'.

It is claimed that the photo shows Ms Earhart and Mr Noonan on a dock in the Marshall Islands, with the Japanese ship, the Koshu, towing the American's plane in the background.

The photo was discovered by Les Kinney, a retired US treasury agent, who has spent years trying to unravel the mystery of the Earhart expedition.

He said the photo "clearly indicates that Earhart was captured by the Japanese".

The documentary tells of "a world-famous aviator who got caught up in an international dispute, was abandoned by her own government, and made the ultimate sacrifice," Mr Henry said.

"She may very well be the first casualty of World War II."

Experts stated the hairline of the man in the photo matched that of Mr Noonan.

"The hairline is the most distinctive characteristic," said Ken Gibson, a facial recognition expert. "It's a very sharp receding hairline. The nose is very prominent.

"It's my feeling that this is very convincing evidence that this is probably Noonan."

Marshall Islands residents have previously claimed they saw the plane crash near the island, with Ms Earhart and Mr Noonan being taken away by the Japanese.

"We believe that the Koshu took her to Saipan [in the Mariana Islands], and that she died there under the custody of the Japanese," said Gary Tarpinian, the executive producer of the documentary.

"We don't know how she died. We don't know when."

Japanese authorities told NBC that there are no records indicating that Ms Earhart was in Japanese custody.

Ms Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1932.

Irish Independent

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