I am sure you will have heard of Amelia Earhart, and being told about the story of her disappearance. In case you haven’t, here is a quick overview with all the facts you need to know. Earhart was a famous American aviation pilot, with one of her most notable achievements being that she was the first female aviator to fly across the Atlantic Ocean solo. Her final challenge was to travel across the globe alongside co-pilot and navigator Fredrick Noonan, in the year of 1937. Earhart hoped that the journey would inspire other women to become involved in aviation, and it was an important step towards gender equality and female empowerment in American history. Usually, the story goes that Earhart, and her navigator Fredrick Noonan experienced difficulty during the flight, ultimately crashing her plane into the Pacific Ocean without leaving a trace. Of course this is the simple explanation, because no one knows for sure what really happened – or so we thought until 2017. Recently, new evidence has been revealed – an archived photograph, depicting Earhart and Noonan in the Marshall Islands, whilst a distinct object thought to be Earhart’s plane, is being towed by the Koshu ship in the background.
The story begins when Earhart and her plane were expected to arrive on Howard Island, as one of the many stops on their journey. Earhart did not reach Howard Island however, and whilst she was still sending out communications, she was not able to receive communication back. It is believed that as a result, Earhart landed or crashed the plane in the Marshall Islands, and her and Noonan became captives of the Japanese. Something about this theory that bothers me is that this photo is not the first piece of evidence to suggest that Earhart was a captive of the Japanese. Many locals on the Island, as well as US veterans claimed to have seen Earhart and Noonan, some who even state that they interacted with her – and these accounts have been around for 80 years. Particularly the locals, who would have had no idea how famous Earhart was back in the US, had no reason to make up these accounts – so why were they ignored for so long? Here are some accounts that really stood out to me. A man named Bilimon Amaron, a Japanese medical worker on the Island of Jaluit at the time of Earhart’s disappearance, was interviewed in the 1980’s, in which he claimed that he had tended to Noonan and Earhart’s wounds at the ship, the Koshu – the very same ship thought to be towing Earhart’s plane. This man at the time describes Earhart and Noonan and simply a man and a woman – he clearly did not know that they were of significant importance elsewhere in the world, and so I think his story is very credible. Another eyewitness, a lady named Ms. Blas living in a small village, reported seeing a white female prisoner being driven to a nearby tree. She was blindfolded and handcuffed, forced to kneel in front of an already dug grave, and shot in the chest. This of course may not have been Earhart, but the timeline and the fact that a white woman on the Marshall Islands was very uncommon does suggest that this very well could have been Earhart.
But there is more evidence to this story than just single eyewitness accounts. Locals on the Marshall Islands claim that they are taught about Amelia Earhart in school, and that it is actually a part of their curriculum. Not only are children taught about who she was and her work, but taught that she in fact was held captive by the Japanese on the very same Islands. The fact that this is actually taught as part of the curriculum, and not just nothing more than a story told in school, suggests that the Islanders are certain that this really happened, and what reason do they have to lie? It is even depicted on their stamps! The locals have stamps that show Earhart’s plane in the water, images of the ship being towed by the Koshu… It is more than simply a story – it is part of their history. Clearly, these people’s accounts were being brushed under the rug as part of a cover up, and I’d be quick to point the finger at the American government, who I believe knew very well that Earhart had been taken hostage by the Japanese.
What do you think of the newly emerged photograph? Do you believe Amelia Earhart landed on the Marshall Islands, or do you think she simply crashed into the Pacific Ocean? This is just the beginning of these new developments into the Earhart case, and I think its exciting that there is still more to be uncovered in the years to come.