During her lifetime, Amelia Earhart achieved such records as “First person to fly Atlantic twice” and “First woman to fly non-stop, coast to coast across the US”. In 1937, along with Fred Noonan, made an attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe which ended in tragedy. Earhart disappeared somewhere near Howland Island. Her and Noonan’s disappearance has led to one of America’s biggest mysteries.
Many theories have emerged concerning their fate. Some believed, and a movie further fueled this myth, Earhart was acquired by Franklin Roosevelt to spy on the Japanese. However, lack of evidence has dismissed this one. One hypothesis stated Earhart survived the world flight, moved to New Jersey and changed her named. Irene Bolam was claimed to be Earhart based on research by Major Joseph Gervais. This research was turned in to a book by Joe Klaas, but after a lawsuit filed by Bolam, the book was pulled from the market. A thorough background check on Bolam eliminated any possibility she could be Earhart.
Fred Goemer, a CBS Correspondent, published a book in 1966 claiming Earhart and Noonan crashed on Saipan Island. They were then captured and executed by the Japanese. A former U.S. Marine claimed he and other soldiers opened a safe containing Earhart’s briefcase. There have been a couple of people who witnessed or knew someone who witnessed the alleged execution. Their “graves” was excavated in 2004. No bones turned up.
The most common theory is that of the Gardner Island Hypothesis. It’s believed Earhart and Noonan arrived at the uninhabited Gardner Island (now known as Nikumaroro), landing on a reef-flat near the wreck of a large freighter and at some point died. The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery has visited the island and recovered a zipper pull and bronze bearings thought to have belonged to Earhart. TIGHAR will be continuing their efforts next year with a new $500,000 expedition in hopes to recover DNA evidence.
In 2010, will the mystery of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance finally be solved?