Never-Before-Seen Photo Suggests That Amelia Earhart May Have Survived Plane Crash In Pacific

by Ileana Paules-Bronet
Ileana is the Editor of Original Content at LittleThings. She grew up in upstate New York and Oregon and now lives in Queens, NY. Ileana graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in sociology. After graduating, she attended the Columbia Publishing Course in New York City, then worked as in marketing at Oxford University Press. Since transitioning to editorial, she has written for sites like BuzzFeed, HuffPost, and Unwritten. She has also worked for local newspapers and magazines in upstate New York. In her free time, you can find Ileana watching Law and Order: SVU, eating ice cream, and spending time with her dog.

Amelia Earhart remains an American hero. Born in 1897, she was always adventurous. As a child, she loved playing outside.

At 10 years old, Amelia saw her first aircraft at the Iowa State Fair, but it wasn’t until 1921 that she took her first flying lessons.

By October of 1922, Amelia had set her first world record by flying her yellow biplane, “The Canary,” to 14,000 feet — higher than any other female pilot at the time.

And in 1923, Amelia became the 16th woman to be issued a pilot’s license.

Amelia continued her aviation career throughout the rest of the 1920s — becoming not only the first woman to complete a transatlantic flight, but a competitive flyer, an associate editor at Cosmopolitan magazine, and a spokesperson for flying.

In 1937, Amelia Earhart set out with navigator Fred Noonan to fly around the world. On the final leg of their flight, however, they disappeared.

national archives amelia

The upcoming History Channel documentary, Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence, attempts to find out what happened to Amelia and Fred, and this photo might have the answer.

The photo shows a group of people on a dock, with a ship towing an airplane in the background.

It may be the final chapter in a strange and mysterious story.

amelia earhart 1935

Amelia Earhart’s life and career were fascinating on their own, but when she went missing during her around-the-world flight in 1937, the world was enthralled.

Amelia and Fred Noonan left Lae, New Guinea, at midnight on July 2, 1937. They were headed toward Howland Island.

amelia airplane

As they approached Howland Island, they lost radio navigation and, after a series of static calls, they lost all contact.

That was the last anyone ever heard from Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan.

amelia earhart airplane

In the 80 years since Amelia and Fred disappeared, there have been a variety of theories about what happened to the two of them after they lost communication.

Researchers and historians have speculated that they may have crashed and sunk in the ocean, landed on an uninhabited island, or crashed and been taken captive by Japanese forces.

amelia in plane

All of these theories have some evidence behind them, but until now, they were all just that — theories.

But now, retired federal agent Les Kinney has found stunning photographic evidence in the National Archive that might answer the 80-year-mystery.

zoom amelia

The photo turned up after extensive searches by former federal investigators in the U.S. National Archives.

Two people in the photo look remarkably like Amelia and Fred. Historians believe that the photo suggests the two of them survived a crash landing in the Marshall Islands, where they were then captured by the Japanese military.

The ship is said to be Koshu Maru, a Japanese military vessel.

zoom circle amelia

According to the History Channel, forensic analyst Doug Carner said he is 99.7 percent confident that the photo is untouched and authentic, and facial recognition expert Kent Gibson said it’s “likely” that the two people in the photo are indeed Amelia and Fred.

If it is, in fact, the famous duo, it could change history as we know it.

amelia earhart portrait

Some historians are still skeptical, but others believe the Amelia Earhart mystery is finally solved.

Do you think it’s Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan in this photo?

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