Old Aerial Photographs May Prove Amelia Earhart Survived as a Castaway

2013-06-27 3

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!

First Photo: Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan with a map of the Pacific showing the route for their final flight; Second Photo: The last photo of Earhart and Noonan, taken in May 1937, before they made their second attempt to complete a circumnavigational flight. Photos via e-southerndata.com and Wikipedia.

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.

Photo via PetaPixel

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!

All information for this article were sourced from Discovery News, PetaPixel, and Nikumaroro Island on Wikipedia.

written by plasticpopsicle on 2013-06-27 #news #history #lomography #old-photos #news #amelia-earhart #aerial-photographs #nikumaroro-island


  1. kschraer
    kschraer ·

    I see nothing in the photos or article supporting the castaways theory...or am I just missing something?

  2. plasticpopsicle
    plasticpopsicle ·

    @kschraer Based on the details I obtained from the sources above, the large format photos could be used to take a close look at what Nikumaroro Island looked like some 15 months after Earhart and Noonan disappeared. Maybe it could show something that will prove the theory of the pair trying to survive for a time on the island. As for the question of what The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) saw in the photos, we don't know yet, so I guess we'll have to wait for updates!

  3. kschraer
    kschraer ·

    @plasticpopsicle Ahhhh....I see! It is quite interesting, and it's a story I'll be sure to keep my eye on. Thanks for the article and your reply!

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