back to top

People Are Freaking Out About This Photo That Might Show That Amelia Earhart Survived Her Crash

The History Channel has found a photo that some experts say shows the female pilot alive on a Pacific island controlled by the Imperial Japanese Army.

Posted on

Although she was declared legally dead in 1939, Earhart's remains — and those of her navigator, Fred Noonan — were never found, and mystery has surrounded their fate ever since.

On Wednesday, NBC's Today ran this segment on an upcoming History Channel special on Earhart.

WATCH: “This could rewrite history.” Investigators uncover new photo that they believe shows Amelia Earhart alive i…


As the History documentary reveals, investigator Les Kinney found this formerly top secret photo in the National Archives. According to its caption, the picture was taken in 1937 on Jaluit Atoll in the Marshall Islands, which were then under Japanese control.

The man's hairline and nose appear to match Noonan's, according to one expert in the documentary, while the woman's short hair and pants are reminiscent of Earhart's iconic style.

Universal History Archive / Getty Images

Earhart and Noonan in Hawaii on March 20, 1937.


"For decades, locals have claimed they saw Earhart's plane crash before she and Noonan were taken away," NBC News wrote of the History Channel documentary. "Native schoolkids insisted they saw Earhart in captivity. The story was even documented in postage stamps issued in the 1980s."

The documentary makers believe Earhart and Noonan may have been taken captive as suspected spies and imprisoned by the Japanese on Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands, where they may have died.


David Mack is a reporter and weekend editor for BuzzFeed News in New York.

Contact David Mack at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.