A newly uncovered photo of Amelia Earhart’s famous Lockheed Electra has revealed a heretofore unknown detail about the ill-fated aviator’s final flight, and one researcher claims that it may finally solve the mystery of Earhart’s disappearance.
Earhart, along with co-pilot Fred Noonan, vanished during an attempted round-the-world flight on July 2nd, 1937. Accepted wisdom has long held that Earhart’s mission met with disaster when her plane crashed into the Pacific ocean, yet according to MailOnline, prominent Earhart investigator Ric Gillespie claims he now has evidence disproving those theories.
Gillespie’s assertion centers on a recently uncovered photograph of Earhart’s Lockheed Electra. The image, taken just before the aviator’s final flight, shows a distinctive sheet of aluminum bolted to the side of Earhart’s plane. Covering what was once a window on Earhart’s Electra, the aluminum plate isn’t visible in any other picture of the plane, but according to Gillespie, it perfectly matches a piece of metal he discovered in 1991, on Gardner Island in the Pacific.
While Gillespie was convinced at the time that he had found a piece of Earhart’s plane, his claims were dismissed by many, due to the fact that the rivet patterns on the metal plate did not match those used on Earhart’s Lockheed. The new image, discovered in the vaults of The Miami Herald, shows that the metal plate wasn’t a part of the airplane, but rather an after-the-fact repair that was likely done following a rough landing in Miami. “The replacement of that window had to be done in Miami, at a Pan Am facility that was helping Earhart,” Gillespie related to The Miami Herald.
The new information could prove that Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan survived the crash of their plane, Gillespie asserts:
“If we can match a rivet pattern from the repair in the photograph to a rivet pattern on the wreckage, I think it would be beyond dispute that Noonan and Earhart weren’t lost at sea, but made it to the island.”
If proved to be true, the allegations would write a tragic final chapter to one of aviation’s most enduring mysteries. If Amelia Earhart and Noonan survived the crash, they almost certainly perished as castaways on Gardner Island, otherwise known as Nikumaroro. At the time, searchers observed signs of habitation there, but attributed them to native islanders. Gillespie’s evidence, however, suggests that those signs may have been the result of Earhart and Noonan.
Gillespie’s allegations mark the second time that Amelia Earhart has been in the news recently. As The Inquisitr previously reported, a 31-year-old Denver woman, who is also named Amelia Earhart, recently attempted to retrace the round-the-world flight of her historical namesake.
[Images via MailOnline and Miami Herald]