Japanese Blogger Discredits Amelia Earhart Photo Used in History Channel Special

The photograph from the National Archives that some believed showed Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan. (Image credit: U.S. National Archives, courtesy Les Kinney)

The photograph from the National Archives that some believed showed Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan. (Image credit: U.S. National Archives, courtesy Les Kinney)

Japanese military history blogger Kota Yamano has discredited a recently discovered photograph that had some believing they'd found proof that Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan survived their highly publicized crash in 1937.  The photograph, discovered by former U.S. Treasury agent Les Kinney, was featured in a History Channel special.  Kinney was looking for any undiscovered evidence relevant to Earhart's disappearance when he found the undated photo in a box of declassified papers from the Office of Naval Intelligence.  

Analysts with the History Channel argued that the woman sitting at the end of the dock, facing away from the camera, was Earhart, and that Noonan was the man on the far left of the image.  They claimed that the ship in the background, which they identified as the Koshu Maru, had rescued Earhart and Noonan after they crash-landed in 1937.

The photo as it appears in The Ocean's "Lifeline": The Condition of Our South Seas. (Image credit: National Diet Library Digital Collections)

The photo as it appears in The Ocean's "Lifeline": The Condition of Our South Seas. (Image credit: National Diet Library Digital Collections)

Yamano, however, found the photograph in a 1935 Japanese travelogue about the islands of the South Pacific, after reportedly searching for less than 30 minutes.  The book came from the National Diet Library, Japan's national library, by searching the term "Jaluit Atoll," which is the location featured in the photograph.  The photo turned up in The Ocean's "Lifeline": The Condition of Our South Seas, which features the photograph in question on page 44.

Yamano's discovery removes a key piece of evidence in favor of the History Channel special's theory that Earhart and Noonan crash-landed in the Marshall Islands and were captured by the Japanese military.

The official position of the United States government is that Earhart and Noonan were lost at sea en route to Howland Island after running out of fuel.

Tobias WaylandComment