Amelia Earhart Survived Plane Crash, History Channel Documentary Claims

Amelia Earhart
Nara Archives/REX/Shutterstock

The fate of aviator Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan has remained an enigma for 80 years, but a recently discovered photograph may attempt to solve that mystery.

Earhart and Noonan departed to circumnavigate the globe on July 2, 1937, in what would be a 29,000-mile flight. On the final stretch of their attempt, they both disappeared. A widely accepted theory says Earhart died after running out of fuel and crashing into the Pacific Ocean, but former FBI Executive Assistant Director Shawn Henry is backing up a different idea.

The black-and-white image obtained by the History channel suggests Earhart and Noonan survived the plane crash and were captured by the Japanese military. In it, two people who resemble Earhart and Noonan are seen on a dock with their Lockheed Electra airplane aboard a ship. The photo would back the theory that the two survived a crash-landing in the Marshall Islands and were held prisoner by the Japanese military on the island of Saipan until their deaths.

“This absolutely changes history,” Henry said. He also proposed that the Japanese government thought Earhart and Noonan were American spies.

Former U.S. Treasury Agent Les Kinney discovered the photo in National Archives records in 2012, which is revealed in investigative documentary “Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence,” airing 9 p.m. July on History.

The photo, which Kinney believes must have been taken before 1943, shows a ship towing a barge with an airplane on the back with several people on a nearby dock. Two independent analyses by Doug Carner and Kent Gibson said the photo appears to be legitimate, according to People. Carner determined it had not been altered, and Gibson, who specializes in facial recognition, said it’s likely the individuals are Earhart and Noonan. They both recognized the ship in the photo as Koshu Maru, a Japanese military vessel said to have captured the duo after their crash.

This Japanese military theory has been in discussion since the 1960s, and is backed by witnesses who apparently saw their aircraft land and saw the two in Japanese custody.

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  1. Bob says:

    When will the AE show be aired again?

    Thank you.

  2. Robert Mauri says:

    I was a Peace Corps Volunteer, from 1967 to 1969, on Mili Atoll, the site where Earhart supposedly crash landed. I spoke pretty good Marshallese, and I have to say that no Marshallese person that I came in contact with ever spoke of a story about two white aviators landing on one of the small islets on the northwest edge of Mili. Also, why would AE have chosen that part of the atoll to land when she could have landed on a firm, 3 mile sand beach on the southwest lagoon side of the atoll (check out Google maps)?
    It seems that the story is already unraveling since a person has reported finding that “smoking gun” photo in a Japanese publication dated several years before AE’s disappearance.

  3. Ann Ruiz says:

    Will tge History Channel rin this prigram again?

  4. Añgie says:

    They where throwing actors out of America in the 30, 40, an early 50. Saying they where communists. so who’s to say that our own country would not admit one word of truth about what really happened to who’s to say they threw away everything they found in Saipan? I believe our government has an always will keep real truths away from us. How many of you believe our government in2017 is I personally do not. So what make a lot of you who back in 1937-38-39-40- or 41 Dec 7 1941 as a matter of fact believe everything they told you was true. Now some was, because they could not cover it up as well back then as they are trying to today. But with some of the people we have in office today. Imagine how bad it would today if we entered into another world war.lord help us all. Because only the strong an capable would survive an that would be few an far between. Because a lot of rich people can not feed there selves today without a grocery store. What if you had no clean water to drink.i know how I would survive. Do you? Good luck out there people think about what Amelia went through in the hands of the Japanese. 5 years before America entered.then think about how well you an your family would survive. If you could not start your car, or turn on your phone. Lol that would lose about half of you!!

  5. Cia Harbin says:

    Earhart probably was spying. The author Adela Rogers St. Johns said she went to see them depart on their trip. Earhart told her not to worry about her. Rogers St. Johns said she cannot imagine Earhart saying that unless something else was going on besides a plane trip. (Could not imagine.) Read this in “The Honeycomb”.

  6. Jan de Jong says:

    Following about 20 years all news and info about Amelia and Fred,a lot of people and me always said that Amelia never was on Gardner island and with so many witnesses/reports and remarks of 2 high ranking us military,Amelia and Freds destiny pointed strong in the Saipan theory.
    Amelia had maps with Gardner island with her and should have said that name in her radio emergency messages.
    And we knew the truth is hidden in us archives,even when the plane and papers were found in a hangar when US invaded Saipan,it was ordered to destroy the plane and papers like passport of both disappeared.
    Even years later the remains were digged up and disappeared.
    The biggest cover up since a long long time,the US president doing nothing to save them…
    Where are the remains of both persons?
    Why did Roosevelt nothing?it was him who asked Amelia to fly close to Saipan to make photos..shame on him

  7. Debbie Maurer says:

    My Fathers girlfriend was from Saipan and she took me to visit the island in 1996. She showed me the lication of the jail and told me that there were rumors that Amelia Earhart had been captured and held there until she died. It was supected that she was a spy. My Dads girlfruend was Maria Cabrera and her father was part of the police force becore the war. I cant wait to see the story.

    • That Honkey Man says:

      My uncle’s parrot’s third most recent bird seed supplier is neighbors with some guy who met the owner of a hamburger stand who was the original owner of a pencil case once owned by this guy that knew Erhart’s neighbor, I think.

  8. So the person who took the picture was later executed for being a spy. Executed by whom, the Japanese? If so how did this photo even get developed let alone in the hands of the US?

  9. rabbitnexus says:

    A glance down the comments on this site is an unpleasant experience in human baseness. The misogynistic, vile and hateful comments are repulsive and bespeak some truly ignorant and nasty people. No doubt the same sort who’d be quick to attack myself for supposedly being all those things once they knew I am a Muslim. Disgusted and I think the site owners should consider banning and blocking about half the people who comment here out of respect for any decent people who happen by this site.

    As for the story, it isn’t the least bit new, although the photo is a new one for me. I have tended to believe they were captured and exceuted or died in Japanese captivity because as time has gone on, more and more evidence has been turning up to support that theory above all. I don’t doubt that is them in the photo either and if it’s provenance can be established that would have to stand as very solid evidence.

  10. Scott Gunn says:

    True. I think she played for only one team, the same one she was on.

  11. Dark Lord of the Spliff says:

    When I clicked on the link, I was ready to be shocked and intrigued. Then I saw “History Channel”. They are the CNN/Washington Post of ‘educational’ channels.

  12. BW says:

    Umm, OK, or maybe he was the best navigator she could find. She was an aviator first, and I don’t see the male/female/white/black/brown/Asian etc. categories the way the left likes to DIVIDE US. She was relevant then, and is relevant now. Why don’t you get out and do something relevant, too?

  13. Tony Marik says:

    First thing you need to ask: What are they trying to sell? In this case, a TV show (ad revenue, ratings). The Earhart story is fascinating even without the “what really happened?” theories. Most often, the most logical is correct. The plane ran out of fuel and crashed into the deep blue sea. A tragic ending to an amazing person.

  14. Dorkyman says:

    Oh, brother. This is all they have to go on?

    What about the piece of the Electra’s battery box that was found buried in the sand on Howland Island, along with a woman’s shoe sole identical to the ones she wore?

    • sheryl says:

      NOPE MANY YEARS AGO (around 45 to be exact) my grandfather told me this same story and the picture is not new been around for many years. time has now been taken to verify what I already knew years ago.

    • Only if you ignore the considerable evidence they were captured and executed. Maybe you need to find out about what else is known before jumping to your own conclusions. This was in the midst of a world war and the fact is Earhart apparently was indeed engaged in some work for the US military. She was very likely engaged in spying for the USA. This is also a very simple explanation. In fact the idea they could have run out of fuel, given she was an excellent pilot and they were good navigators is itself somewhat less simple than their capture by Japanese.

    • Dorkyman says:

      Oops, sorry, it’s been years since I saw the documentary. They were headed to Howland, the items were found on Gardner Island.

  15. Emily the SJW Feminazi says:

    Bodies Bodies Everywhere, but nowhere a single reporter with a spleen.

  16. DA says:

    You could get away with a lot in the 1960s. But in 1937, a man and a women in an aircraft in “Pacific nowhere,” wouldn’t make the Japanese think spies were involved. Maybe some crazy Hollywood Land tryst, but spies? No way.

    • Debbie Maurer says:

      The Japanese were already at war in 37 with China. I recently studied the history of the Japanes attacks on China and they were brutal. The United States was already in danger by that point. Saipan was taken over by the Japanese in the 1920s because it was a unique strategic spot in the Pacific. Their desire to create an empire was a real threat to many countries.

  17. Mark O'Neill says:

    This dweeb changed his name to my name so he could comment as me and mislead you.

  18. Emily the SJW Feminazi says:

    This is just as much truth as the Phoenix Lights and the end of the world 12.21.2112 … ANYTHING FOR A BUCK

  19. Mark O'Neill says:

    What I find most amazing is that many people do not read the article and go straight to commenting, and they comment as if they were experts – on everything. There is a video done by the Today Show on NBC, about this History Channel show – and the evidence is very compelling that this is true. Very. But you internet “experts” will blow by that and come up with your own theories, without any evidence.

    The internet has been a blessing for arrogant jerks because now you can spread your opinions and you don’t even have to read the article. Maybe I’ll invent a program so a person has to pass a quiz on the article before they comment on the article.

  20. TexBill says:

    She was okay from the crash, but she checked her luggage with American and they mis-routed it to Paris. In her luggage was medicine that was keeping her alive.

  21. Emily the SJW Feminazi says:

    That was Jamie Farr in his Gone With the Wind yellow dress.

  22. Emily the SJW Feminazi says:

    There are 1,000’s of parasites in Hollywood that invent s&&& in order to “earn a living” off the guillible sheeple. Believe only in the 1% that you can actually confirm and see. 99% of the truth is total BS.

  23. poetopoet says:

    Of course, she landed safe, her luggage was found intact and taken by the U.S. Army, what happened after that, they know.

  24. Blacktackular says:

    First place award!

  25. Ron Hewitt says:

    Maxwell your credibility as an internet troll is fully verified and self evident.

  26. Fred says:

    Charles Wagner. It was estimated that the US army would lose hundreds of thousands of men if we had to invade japan. If those two bombs prevented that than it was a good thing. It got Japan to surrender and in effect saved probably a 100,000 or more Japanese too (by not being invaded and having to fight). Our men were tortured and summarily shot dead in numerous prisoner of war camps…something the US did not do.

  27. Emily the SJW Feminazi says:

    No proof, yawn.

  28. Maxwell says:

    Well at least we can’t call this #FakeNews since the History Channel and it’s Entertainment.

    If you want to believe this grainy picture of a woman with dark hair is Earhart go for it, but your credibility is

  29. Charles Wagner says:

    I don’t care what anyone has to say about the savagery of the Japanese army. We (The United States) nuked them twice. I consider any belligerent actions by either side to be utterly absolved and committed to history.

  30. Mike0os says:

    There may be no records of their fate. A lot of damage was done during the invasion of both Saipan and Okinawa…the last places they were possibly interned.

  31. Mike0os says:

    I’ve been following this subject for awhile now, seems Earhart and Noonan were executed on either Saipan or Okinawa. The dates vary, but that’s what I found out over time.

    • Colleen says:

      Sometimes savagery only understands savagery. Our nukes are what stopped their savagery in their tracks. ISIS will keep on doing their savagery unless a stronger opponent stops them. I’m not saying it needs to be us, however.

  32. Andrew Swallow says:

    Even if the main military records in Tokyo were destroyed copies may still exist in the archives of Saipan. Transporting two American should have been entered into the ship’s logs of Koshu Maru.

  33. Andrew Stoy says:

    The WWII Japanese military were barbarians and totally ignored the Geneva Convention. They cannot ask f
    or forgiveness enough!!!

  34. Drone Pilot says:

    Why does this repeating story seem to turn up every few years with not really any new evidence to support the claim?

  35. Raymond Wiltfong says:

    New evidence of old news. She WAS Tokeo Rose and ran a CIA Radio station (Radio Lisbon) after the war. Noonan was shot by the Japanese after he complained about his soup in Siapan.

  36. Jamal Imoz says:

    For decades and decades, Progressives have trumpeted AMELIA EARHART!!! Solo pilot, just like Charles Limbergh. Not. She had a Man as copilot. She was not Charles Limbergh in a dress. Sorry, diversity Deceivers. She was a stunt. Womyns!!!! Believe what you will. The MAN copilot was asleep, trusting in her \capability, and she crashed the plane. He died (along with her). His trust was misplaced. What is his name? Do you know it? Of course not. He gave his life to pretend that Womyns…..blah, blah, blah.

    • Jake says:

      Yeah, and LIndbergh was a Nazi sympathizer. Some hero, That’s why he was never allowed to join the military in WWII. Plus, the rumors about him being involved with the “kidnapping” of his son.

      • clockwindingdown says:

        That is true at all. Try learning actual history and no t media spin are so called common knowledge. Lindbergh was a great asset to the war effort, flew P-38’s in the pacific, is accredited with many kills, and taught the pilots how to vastly increase their fuel range through throttle, fuel, and manifold pressure adjustments.

  37. Truth says:

    Youtube has eye witness accounts of Earhearts plane being destroyed. See video by Martini.

  38. Bruce Kramer, M.D. says:

    Let me get this right…
    They crash in 1937…
    We go to war with Japan 1941…
    Hummm…and this is the same channel that said Gen. Washington fought at Gettysburg…

  39. Keith Diggs says:

    YES! Let’s NUKE them for some crap that happened almost a hundred years ago, you incredibly stupid idiot.

  40. Bill Lancaster says:

    I think Occam’s razor should be followed when considering the various theories about what happened to Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan. The simplest explanation is that they strayed off course, ran out of gas and crashed into the ocean. Both probably died instantly. The grainy photograph is far from “proof” they survived. The person sitting on the dock with her (his?) back to the camera and only the side of his/her face visible could be anyone.You can’t even tell if the person is Caucasian or Asian. As for the man who is supposed to be Fred Noonan, Can you imagine trying to convince a jury beyond reasonable doubt that it’s him? I don’t think so. Agree with the commenter who said the History Channel is just trying to boost its ratings. It’s like the story that Jon Benet’s brother killed her, which I also think is total BS.

    • Bunky says:

      The simplest explanation is that there si a new documentary to be aired!
      C’mon people its advertising.

  41. Missing 170-page government document? Sandy Berger strikes again!

  42. My late wife born on Tinian Island 1938, In 1980 we did a tour of the Marianis Including Saipan, at that time they had a Jail cell there that they claimed Amelia had been held in together with more than one photo they claimed was evidence.
    I Have my own theory, I think when she departed the west coast she circled back, landed in Cody Wyoming and secreted the plane away in a Hanger there. She ten made her way to the Ghost Town of Kirwin to be her lover (A fellow named Carl Dunrud) who owned the Double D Dude Ranch there. Amelia had been a fequent visitor at the D>D> and rumored lover of Carls…….(Find many pictures and documents in Carl’s book) ‘LET’S GO! 85 years of adventure by Carl M Dunrud”
    Oh the Plane…..well Husky Oil Company founded in Cody Wyoming somehow started Flying as their Corporate Plane…..a Lockheed was a fixture at Cody Airport for Years..
    Oh Yes, as a Boy Growing Up Near Kirwin (Meeteetse Wyoming) there were a few Stories about recluse women living in them there parts!

  43. Ed Young says:

    Didn’t Geraldo Rivera find her in that vault he excavated in Chicago a few years ago?

  44. Count Iblis says:

    Since it’s likely that we live in a multiverse where all possible histories are realized.

    all possibilities consistent with the known facts about the disappearance of Amelia Earhart are real. The lack of knowledge about certain details means that you’ll have exact copies in sectors of multiverse where these details are different.

  45. bjhodge8 says:

    Ok! Gonzalo. Tell us more of your deep loathing for the Japanese! Survivor of a prison camp in WW2,perhaps? That would mean, you are in your early nineties, at the very least. A long time to be nursing such hatred. Or perhaps, a Latino with a cultural bias learned in childhood, who sees, those sneaky ‘asians’ doing so well in American society? Go ahead Gonzalo, tell us all about it.

  46. Mark O'Neill says:

    As a woman, she couldn’t fly around the world herself. She needed the GUIDANCE of a man, Fred Noonan.

  47. tjandersen says:

    I don’t see this as evidence at all. She was in radio range of the Coast Guard rendevous ship ad couldn’t have been that far off course. More ado about nothing.

  48. Bruce Long says:

    The theory is plausible but like others, offers no conclusive proof. We can guess about it all day long but after 80 years, it’s likely we’ll never know the truth. And it really isn’t THAT important. If the Japanese did happen to capture and execute them, who are we going to go after in an attempt to make it right? Their great-grandchildren who never met their ancestors? That kind of logic only works in the United States, not with the international community.

  49. That Honkey Guy says:

    The FBI has zero credibility left. They are just a political hatchet squad. There are more ex-FBI experts running around with “expert” opinions for various things than I can shake my genitals at.

  50. Tom Paine says:

    Mass murder is your thing, is it?

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