(PCM) The details surrounding the disappearance of pioneering female pilot Amelia Earhart has been something that has baffled experts and historians, as well as, everyday people for years. Many at one point or another thought that they had it figured out and then all of a sudden new evidence will surface and many of their theories ended up being tossed away. Did Earhart’s plane really crash? Did she survive the crash? How come her body has never been recovered? All that we know for sure is that after July 2, 1937, as she neared the end of her flight around the world, Earhart simply vanished without a trace.
It has been widely speculated that Earhart’s ill-fated plane crashed somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, however photographic evidence may have surfaced that possibly depicts Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan on a dock in the Marshall Islands. A new rumor surfaced where it is thought that Earhart’s plane may have actually crash landed by the Marshall Islands and she and Noonan were captured by the Japanese military and she died while being held prisoner on the island of Saipan. There has been independent analysis on the photo in question and all experts agree that the photograph that surfaced appears to be undoctored and legitimate.
Earhart was declared dead two years after her ill-fated flight when the U.S. concluded she had crashed somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, and her remains were never found. Many, however believe that she could very well still be alive. It is thought that Earhart and Noonan were blown off course and did indeed crash land, but they ended up surviving the incident. While it is still unknown as to who snapped the dock photo in question, it is thought to be an image that was taken by an individual who was spying for the U.S. on Japanese military activity in the Pacific region. What is questionable is just how Earhart and Noonan managed to fly so far off course? It is for this reason that the U.S. government doubts the dock photos authenticity and declared both Earhart and Noonan dead. It is possible that the U.S. government did know who was in the dock photo, but they did not want to reveal who the photographer was if they were, indeed, a spy.
Japanese officials were questioned several times regarding Earhart and her flight and they continue to claim that she was never in their custody. The photo also shows a Japanese ship towing a barge with something that appears to be 38-feet-long which would have been the same length as Earhart’s plane. Japanese locals have claimed for years that they saw Earhart’s plane go down and some children even claim that they saw her in captivity. It is assumed that Earhart eventually died while in captivity when she was taken by the Japanese ship to the island of Saipan, but what is left is question is exactly when she died and of what causes.
Another theory surrounding Earhart’s disappearance has to do with bones that were discovered in the 1940’s on the Pacific Island of Nikumaroro that show similarities to Earhart. Obviously, extensive DNA test abilities were not available during this time period, so researchers who examined the bone were only able to hypothesize. Records were also not well-kept at that time, especially on partially uninhabited Pacific Islands, so the only details about the bones that was revealed was that the measurements matched up to Earhart’s build. The remnants of Earhart’s plane were never recovered either, but back in 2014 researchers did discover an anomaly on the sea floor near Nikumaroro (now called Gardner Island) that could possible be the wrecked aircraft. Further investigation has yet to take place.
Another fact about Nikumaroro, is that were was also a shard of aluminum discovered on the island. When Earhart stopped in Miami at the beginning of her ’round-the-world voyage, she had a window on her plane replaced with a shiny aluminum patch. More than two decades ago, a piece of debris was found on Nikumaroro, an uninhabited island, which is part of the nation of Kiribati. It is thought that this shard of aluminum could have been the repair patch from Earhart’s plane. Both the aluminum shard and the skeleton, as well as, reports of distress calls from the area lead many historians to believe that the search for the remains of Earhart, Noonan and the plane could be somewhere around the area of Nikumaroro and not in the area of the Marshall islands where the alleged dock photo was snapped.
The distress calls are another issue entirely, but definitely provide more evidence that Earhart’s plane may have indeed gone down near the area of Nikumaroro. It is now believed that dozens of radio signals that were dismissed as being a hoax may actually be credible transmissions directly from Earhart. The transmissions began hitting the air waves just hours after Earhart sent her last in flight message. At 07:42 local time, as she flew toward the target destination, Howland Island in the Pacific, with her navigator Fred Noonan, Earhart called the Coast Guard cutter Itasca, stationed at Howland Island to support her flight. “We must be on you, but cannot see you — but gas is running low. Have been unable to reach you by radio. We are flying at 1,000 feet,” she said.
Earhart’s final inflight radio message occurred a hour later, at 08:43. “We are on the line 157 337. We will repeat this message. We will repeat this on 6210 kilocycles. Wait,” she said. The numbers 157 and 337 refer to compass headings,157 degrees and 337 degrees, and describe a navigation line that passed not only Howland Island, the target destination, but also Gardner Island, now called Nikumaroro.
Another distress call was possibly received by a 15-year old girl by the name of Betty Klenk, who was living in the area of St. Petersburg, Florida in July of 1937. She was sitting in her family living room and enjoyed listening to music on her family’s radio console. She would keep an notebook in front of her to write down the words to her favorite songs. Klenk also enjoyed listening to short wave radio transmissions as well and her father installed a long wire antenna across their backyard. Klenk could pick up transmissions from all over the world. On an afternoon in July, Klenk was scanning the short wave radio and heard a woman’s voice come through and say “This is Amelia Earhart. This is Amelia Earhart”. Betty was not able to fully understand every word, but she wrote down a lot of what she could decipher. You can check out her story, which has been largely ignored by government officials, here!
It is definitely some interesting food for thought, as Amelia Earhart’s disappearance is a mystery that has been baffling historians for years. Maybe one day we will finally have some answers and discover just what truly happened to pioneering female pilot Amelia Earhart and her ill-fated trip around the globe.