During this morning’s 7 a.m. 9NEWS morning show, I looked up at the Today Show on one of our multiple TV monitors in the traffic and weather center and saw an image of a Lockheed Electra Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan on the screen.
Of course, any story about Amelia Earhart is something I read and share, but this story was different.
NBC’s Tom Costello was reporting from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in front of Earhart’s gleaming red Lockheed Vega 5B, the aircraft in which she competed her flight across the Atlantic.
This was not a simple mention of the 80-year anniversary of Earhart and Noonan’s disappearance, this was the announcement of a newly-discovered photograph that could solve one of the world’s greatest mysteries.
If you haven’t seen the story yet, this is a must watch.
As I watched the story, I immediately got chills. Being named after Amelia Earhart, retracing her flight around the world in a single-engine aircraft in 2014, and subsequently learning the truth about my connection to Amelia (no, I am not related) has led me down many paths when it comes to researching the Earhart/Noonan disappearance.
Strangers from all over the world send me articles, books, newspaper clippings, and their own personal theories on the final hours of the around the world attempt.
Seeing the photo featured in the story struck me on multiple levels. First, the woman in the photo is wearing clothing similar to Amelia’s button down shirt and pant style, her posture, slightly curved shoulders and all, looks like most photos of the aviatrix. Second, it’s hard to ignore the man with a receding hair line and bone structure so similar to Fred Noonan’s stands on the left side of the photo that it might as well be an exact match. Third, the shadow to the right of the boat, which is the same length of the Lockheed Electra Aircraft according to researchers, was almost too much to handle.
The article states, “Les Kinney, a retired government investigator who has spent 15 years looking for Earhart clues, said the photo "clearly indicates that Earhart was captured by the Japanese."
Japanese authorities told NBC News they have no record of Earhart being in their custody. The photo was marked with the words, “Jaluit Atoll,” a small ring of land that is a part of the Marshall Islands, is less than 1,000 miles away.
“Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence,” the two hour documentary explaining the discovery, airs this Sunday on the History Channel and you can bet that I’ll be glued to the screen.
The question I am most interested in learning the answer to is this: will researchers be able to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this photo is evidence that Earhart and Noonan were captured by the Japanese?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.