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Did Amelia Earhart survive her crash? New photo has people wondering

Amelia Earhart, 40, stands next to a Lockheed Electra 10E, before her last flight in 1937 from Oakland, Calif., bound for Honolulu on the first leg of her record-setting attempt to circumnavigate the world westward along the Equator. Her flight is being e
Amelia Earhart, 40, stands next to a Lockheed Electra 10E, before her last flight in 1937 from Oakland, Calif., bound for Honolulu on the first leg of her record-setting attempt to circumnavigate the world westward along the Equator. Her flight is being e-created by pilot Linda Finch, who will leave Oakland March 17, 1997, 60 years later, in a journey called World Flight 1997. (AP Photo/File)
Herb Scribner, AP

As the story goes, Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, disappeared 80 years ago after a crash during an around-the-world flight.

But a newly discovered photo that’s been hiding in the National Archives may indicate that Earhart survived the crash, landing in the Marshall Islands instead, according to NBC News.

The photo, which you can see in the tweet below, shows a woman who resembles Earhart sitting on a dock. Her navigator, Fred Noonan, can also be seen just off to the side.

The photo also might show Earhart’s downed plane.

The photo will debut this Sunday during a History Channel special, “Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence.”

Analysts told The History Channel that the photo is legitimate and remains unchanged from when it was found in the archives.

In fact, Shawn Henry, an NBC News analyst who spent time as the executive assistant director for the FBI, said that the photo shows Earhart.

"When you pull out, and when you see the analysis that's been done, I think it leaves no doubt to the viewers that that's Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan," Henry told NBC News.

This photo changes the long-told story of Earhart’s disappearance. As EW reported, the story suggests that Earhart — who left in her Lockheed Electra from Papua New Guinea on July 2, 1937, and supposedly crashed — survived the flight and was captured by the Japanese.

After she was captured, she was held prisoner, and died on the island of Saipan, EW reported.

This theory — that Japan killed two pilots who were believed to be American spies — isn’t new. It’s been circling for decades, EW reported.

According to USA Today, an actual American spy probably snapped the photo.

But no one’s sure about the truth. A group of researchers are using bone-sniffing dogs to find her alleged remains on a Pacific island, where people believe she died.

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery hope to find the bones and put this recent theory to bed, USA Today reported.

No matter what happens, people will likely hold onto their theories, wrote Ric Gillespie, executive director of TIGHAR.

"It's such an iconic mystery, and people hold on to that mystery," he said. "They love the mystery."