Washington, July 6 (IANS) A newly unearthed photo showing blurry figures on a dock may shed light on the mystery behind missing US pilot Amelia Earhart who disappeared without a trace in 1937, the media reported.
A new History channel documentary quotes experts who say the image shows the famed pilot survived her 1937 crash in the Pacific, reports CNN.
“I don’t blame people for wanting to know,” said Dorothy Cochrane, curator for the Aeronautics Department at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. “It is one of the greatest mysteries of the 20th century because she was so well known.”
Earhart, a pioneering aviator who became the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic, disappeared with her navigator Fred Noonan on July 2, 1937, while attempting to fly to Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean.
The photograph, discovered in the National Archives by former US Treasury Agent Les Kinney, allegedly shows Earhart and Noonan among a group of people on a dock on Jaluit Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
An expert in facial recognition said the hairline of a man standing at far left in the photo matches that of Noonan, while the torso measurements and short hair of a person sitting on the dock matches that of Earhart, according to a clip shown on NBC News.
The expert came to this conclusion by comparing Noonan’s nose, teeth and hairline to the man in the image. He then used Earhart’s torso measurements to compare her with the other figure.
The photo could support the History channel documentary’s theory that Earhart and Noonan crashed in the Marshall Islands and were captured by the Japanese military which means they could have died in Japanese custody on the island of Saipan rather than in a crash landing.
The Marshall Islands went from German occupation into Japanese hands during World War I and ahead of the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbour became an important military post for Tokyo.