A newly unearthed photo shows Amelia Earhart survived her final flight, investigators say
What happened to Amelia Earhart?
That question has captivated audiences since her plane disappeared over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 as she tried to become the first female pilot to fly around the world.
Researchers now believe they have discovered the “smoking gun” that would support a ten-year theory that Earhart and his navigator, Fred Noonan, were captured by the Japanese: a recently discovered National Archive photograph that Earhart and Noonan showed – and his plane – on an atoll of the Marshall Islands.
“I was initially skeptical until we could get the authenticated photograph,” said Shawn Henry, former Deputy Executive Director of the FBI to help investigate now privately on Earhart’s disappearance said Washington Post.
“The fact that he left the National Archives as opposed to the basement or garage of someone, which gave me much more credibility.
The photograph was found a few years ago in a badly tagged file in the National Archive by a former US Treasury agent named the Kinney, who began investigating Earhart’s disappearance after his retirement, according to a new Documentary story line, “Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence,” which airs on July 9.
Black and white photography of 8 inches by 10 inches has been omitted in a stack of another 20 or 30 images until Kinney looks closer to the few months, Henry said.
In the picture, a figure with Earhart haircut and approximate body type is on the dock in front of the camera, Henry said. To the left of the dock, a man they think is Noonan. At the far right of the photo is a barge with an airplane, supposedly Earhart.
Henry, who was invited to join the research about a year ago, said that two different photography experts analyzed the image to make sure it had not been tampered with. This was not the case, they found. The experts also compared the facial features and body proportions of the two figures in the image for known images of Earhart and Noonan.
For the man on the left, “the hairline is the most distinctive feature,” said Ken Gibson, a facial recognition specialist who studied the image. “The nose is very important … I think it’s very convincing evidence that this is probably not Noonan.”