A New Zealand museum has discovered some lost photos of the South Pacific island in which Amelia Earhart might have sought refuge after her plane crashed in 1937.
Richard Gillespie, executive director of the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, confirmed to ABC News that Matthew O’Sullivan, keeper of photographs at the New Zealand Air Force Museum, found the lost photos earlier this month.
Gillespie said that he got an email from O’Sullivan in which he told him that he found a tin box with no label on it and that the photos were those of an island.
According to Gillespie, “Matt gets curious, he opens the box and he finds contact prints and a slip of paper that read ‘Gardner Island’.”
Currently known as Nikumaroro Island, Gardner Island is where some investigators believe Amelia Earhart spent her final days 76 years ago.
O’Sullivan compared the images he uncovered to Nikumaroro Island on Google Earth in order to confirm that it was indeed the island.
“I looked at the photos of contact sheets Matt sent me, and I immediately recognized the two ships you can see in the photographs off the coast of the island. The two ships were part of a New Zealand Pacific Airway Survey that was conducted in 1938. The photos were taken on Dec. 1, 1938, 15 months after Amelia Earhart disappeared.” Gillespie said.
Gillespie already had two photos taken during the 1938 expedition and said that it didn’t make sense that the searchers would only take two photos, he knew there were more pictures of the efforts.
For Gillespie this discovery is particularly exciting because the 43 photos found are all originals and come with the negatives.
Gillespie and his forensic analysis team are traveling to New Zealand on July 10 to investigate the photographs.
The New Zealand Air Force museum was not available for comment.
Do you think these photographs will provide additional information as to what happened to Amelia Earhart?