CORRECTION: This photograph was proven to be a false lead. Read this article for further information.
Amelia Earhart’s attempt to be the first female to fly around the world was somewhat overshadowed by her mysterious disappearance over 80 years ago. The plane carrying Amelia and her navigator allegedly crashed somewhere in the Pacific Ocean in 1932. Neither a body or the plane were ever found. Everyone assumed they were lost at sea until recently.
A newly discovered National Archives photo suggests Amelia may have survived the crash. According to History.com, who is producing a documentary about his newly discovered photo, this new information suggests that she “crash-landed in the Marshall Islands, was captured by the Japanese military and died while being held prisoner on the island of Saipan”.
The clues go even deeper. The photo shows a Japanese boat towing what appears to be a large plane similar to Amelia’s 38-foot airplane. A gentleman closely fitting the description of Amelia’s navigator, Fred Noonan, is standing on a dock near Amelia.
Several Japanese who lived on Saipan at the time, including Josephine Blanco Akiyama, have said they saw a woman fitting Amelia Earhart’s description. “Everybody was talking about her; they were talking about it in Japanese. That’s why I know that she’s a woman. They were talking about the woman flyer," quotes Akiyama from NBCnews.com.
No one knows whether Amelia Earhart’s whereabouts were known by the U.S. Government, or if the photo was taken by someone spying for the U.S. The Japanese are denying any knowledge of her disappearance. I guess we’ll never completely know but it does make for great conversation around the dinner table.