Thursday, July 6, 2017

Amelia Earhart - Still a Mystery Ending

Amelia Mary Earhart was born in Atchison, Kansas on 11 June 1897; at the moment no one can say with any certainty the date of her death.  Amelia say her first airplane at the age of ten, and was not impressed, saying it was "a jumble of rusty metal and wooden parts."  She was the 16th woman in the world to be granted a pilot's license, and she was the first person, male or female, to fly across both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  She was married in 1931 to George P. Putnam.
    She decided that she would break the final record left at the time - to fly completely around the world.  She and a group of backers purchased a Lockheed Electra L-10E for this flight.  She and fellow pilot Paul Mantz flew to Hawaii to begin their around-the-world trip, but the plane flipped while taking off, and had to go back to California for repairs.
    In 21 May of 1937, she and navigator Fred Noonan left for the record flight from Oakland, California, crossing the United States first.  They left the US from Miami in June.  The following photo was taken in Natal, Brazil on 11 June 1937, just before they left that country:

On 2 July 1937 Amelia and Noonan left Lae, Papua, New Guinea just after midnight, heading for Howland Island.  A Coat Guard cutter was tailing the airplane, and they received a message at 8:43 am on 3 July 1937 stating that the plane was low on fuel and was trying to get a visual sighting of the ship.  That was the last communication from Earhart and Noonan.
   There was a $4 million search for the aviatrix.  As no wreckage and no bodies were found, she was legally declared dead on 5 January 1939.
   There have been many suppositions regarding her death.  It was widely believed that Earhart and Noonan ditched the plane into the ocean and drowned, or were killed upon impact.  It was also speculated that this flight around the world was performed as a spy mission for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and that when she and Noonan went missing, they had been captured by the Japanese.
    In 1940 a skeleton was found, along with small pieces of a plane on Gardner Island, which is now known as Nikumaroro and is 350 miles from Howland Island.  The person who examined the bones felt that the arm bone lengths matched a man who was 5 feet 5 inches tall, rather than a woman, and so the Earhart skeleton theory was pooh-poohed.
    Around 2005,  an aerial photograph of the reef around Nikumaroro showed what some people believed to be the strut and wheel of an airplane that mated Earhart's Electra. In 2007 an expedition of engineers, technical experts, archaeologists, anthropologists and researchers went to Nikumaroro seeking for unambiguously identifiable aircraft artifacts and DNA.  They found bronze bearings that might have belonged to Earhart's plane, and a zipper pull that might have come from her flight suit.
    Artifacts found on Nikumaroro in the following five years have included improvised tools; an aluminum panel, possibly from an Electra, made using 1930s manufacturing specifications; an oddly cut piece of clear Plexiglas, the same thickness and curvature of an Electra window; and a size 9 Cat's Paw heel dating from the 1930s, which resembles Earhart's footwear in world flights.  But nothing is definitive proof.
    Now a photo that was "lost and misfiled" in the National Archives is receiving some attention.  Retired US Treasury Agent Les Kinney found the photograph in 2012 in a now open "formerly top secret" file, and states that several reports, including one that was 130 pages long had been destroyed.
This photo was taken in mid-July 1937 in Jaluit Harbor, on Jaluit Island in the Jaluit Atoll of the Marshall Islands.  The photo shows Jaluit Harbor, with several local inhabitants, a Caucasian man looking at the camera, a figure with short hair and wide shoulders sitting on the dock end with back to camera, and the Japanese merchant ship Koshu Maru which has a 38-foot-long airplane sitting on it's deck.  It is believed that the white man is Fred Noonan, the person sitting is Amelia Earhart, and their plane is on the ship.  This brings the speculation that the two aviators were captured by the Japanese as spies, and it is theorized that both died in prison on the island of Saipan while in Japanese custody....  

    Doug Carson, a well known digital analyst states that the first of the three above photos is authentic.  He states that he is "99.7 percent certain" the the original photo has not been tampered with, or manipulated in any way.
    Kent Gibson, a facial recognition expert, states that he believes that it is "likely" that the two figures possibly identified as Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan are those two people.

    What do you think?

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