A photograph discovered last year was said to prove that Amelia Earhart did not die in a plane crash but was captured by the Japanese, experts claimed 80 years after her disappearance.

The recently discovered photograph
The recently discovered photograph

The pioneering aviator vanished over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 while attempting to circumnavigate the globe. Various reasons have been given for her disappearance. The theory that she was captured by Japanese forces has been suggested before; others believe she faked her own death; a few oddballs even claim she was abducted by aliens. The photo, found in a former “top secret” file at the US National Archives, and thought to have been taken in 1937, has been subjected to facial-recognition and other forensic testing – and could put the mystery to bed. 

The pioneering aviator vanished over the Pacific Ocean in 1937
The pioneering aviator vanished over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 CREDIT: GETTY

A documentary, Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence, aired on the History channel, argued that the photograph proves Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan were picked up by the Japanese military, who believed they were spies, and taken prisoner. It states that the pair crash-landed in the Japanese-held Marshall Islands and proposed that the US government knew of Earhart’s whereabouts and did nothing to rescue her. The theory was somewhat disproved, however, after the new image was said to have appeared in a Japanese travel brochure published years before Earhart disappeared.

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