A photo from the National Archives seems to support the theory that Amelia Earhart was captured by the Japanese in 1937.
A team of experts and forensic dogs are currently on an expedition to the island of Nikumaroro in hopes of sniffing out the bones of Amelia Earhart, but as NBC News reports, a new clue suggests they might not find anything…because Earhart survived.
A photo discovered in the National Archives seems to show Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan, both presumed dead after crashing somewhere in the Pacific Ocean 80 years ago on July 2, 1937. The photo, believed to be from 1937, is marked “Jaluit Atoll,” part of the Marshal islands.
Locals have been telling stories of seeing Earhart in the islands for years, many of which were written about by Fred Goerner in his book The Search for Amelia Earhart. In a recent article, researcher Dick Spink, who began investigating the Marshal islands after hearing these stories first hand, told The Japan Times he believes “Earhart and Noonan were then taken to Jaluit Atoll, then known as Nanyo, a mandated territory of Japan, where they were ushered aboard a tramp steamer called the Koshu Maru and transported to Saipan, the Electra towed behind on the barge.”
“The photo shows a Japanese ship, Koshu,” the NBC News article states, “towing a barge with something that appears to be 38-feet-long — the same length as Earhart’s plane.”
There is no evidence of what may have happened to Earhart and Noonan after being captured, but the Japanese government denied having any record of it.
The photo is the subject of an upcoming History channel special airing this Sunday called “Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence.”