A set of old aerial photographs that were rediscovered in a New Zealand museum could possibly cement the theory of Amelia Earhart surviving for a time as castaway in Nikumaroro Island. Find out more after the jump!
The mysterious disappearance of Amelia Earhart over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 remains a thing of urban myths and legends, but a set of old photos may finally shed light on the fate of the iconic aviatrix and her navigator Fred Noonan.
One theory explains that the pair did not crash into the Pacific Ocean on July 2, 1937, during Earhart’s attempt to set a new world record for the first circumnavigational flight through the equator. Instead, they made an emergency landing on the reef surrounding the uninhabited Gardner Island (presently Nikumaroro Island), which lies around 400 miles southeast of Earhart’s target destination, Howland Island. There, they were believed to have survived for a time as castaways.
Despite the several expeditions conducted by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) during the 1990s and 2000s, nobody knows for sure what really happened to the aviatrix and her navigator. So, when an old contact sheet with aerial photos of Nikumaroro resurfaced in a New Zealand museum archive, proponents of the castaway theory took it as a possible evidence to prove their claims.
According to Discovery News, the contact prints were discovered by Matthew O’Sullivan, the keeper of photographs at the New Zealand Air Force Museum in Christchurch. He found in the museum archives an unlabeled tin box that kept five sheets of contact prints along with the negatives, totaling to 45 large format photos. They were taken on December 1, 1938, around 15 months following the disappearance of Earhart and Noonan. While the Lockheed Electra the pair rode did sink into the ocean, the photos are believed to support the theory that they did make Nikumaroro Island their home, until they succumbed to injuries, starvation, dehydration, and other unfortunate causes.
Are you also convinced that the photos may finally hold the answer to the Amelia Earhart mystery? Share your insights with a comment below!