History Channel researchers thinks they have solved one of history’s most enduring mysteries: What happened to aviator Amelia Earhart.
They’ve unearthed a never-before-seen photo that may show Earhart and prove she survived her final flight. However, since the show’s airing, a Japanese blogger has claimed to have records showing the photo was taken two years before Earhart disappeared, casting doubt on the picture.
The blogger wrote, “The photograph was first published in Palau under Japanese rule in 1935, in a photo book … So the photograph was taken at least two years before Amelia Earhart disappear[ed] in 1937 and a person on the photo was not her.”
Here’s that photo. The woman suspected of being Earhart is pictured sitting or kneeling in the middle of the photograph, wearing a white shirt.
Here’s a closer version of the same shot:
Earhart was presumed dead about 80 years from the day the photo was released after she took off in her airplane from New Guinea and disappeared.
The new photo is featured in the documentary Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence, which claims the woman in the photo is Earhart. According to TMZ, the photo was “taken on a South Pacific island days after she disappeared. The doc claims Amelia is in the photo, sitting on a dock, surrounded by people who might be her captors.”
The documentary runs at 9 p.m. ET July 9 on the History Channel. It alleges an American governmental cover up of Earhart’s fate. The documentary was created by Shawn Henry, described by People Magazine as “a former executive assistant director of the FBI.”
Earhart’s last flight took off on July 2, 1937. According to People Magazine, “Together with her navigator Fred Noonan, the 39-year-old pilot flew east toward Howland Island, a tiny sliver of land in the central Pacific Ocean, on the final leg of her boldest aeronautical adventure to date – circumnavigating the globe along the equator in a marathon 29,000-mile flight.”
Her final radio broadcast, according to People, was, “Gas is running low. Have been unable to reach you by radio. We’re flying at 1,000 feet.”
According to NBC Boston, “The photo is believed to have been taken by a spy who was later executed by Japan, which investigators believe imprisoned the pair of aviators in Saipan, where Noonan was executed and Earhart died.” It was found in an American file, and the investigators believe the photo also shows her plane in the background.
The History Channel shared the photo with the Today Show in advance of the broadcast.