Born from a Kickstarter campaign, veteran explorer Mike Harris Sr. and filmmaker Rich Martini have joined forces to examine the evidence that Amelia Earhart was on Saipan after she disappeared. They've been joined by a team of professionals from across the spectrum and are backed by a number of individuals with a desire to know the truth.
Stay tuned for more information...

EYEWITNESS REPORTS

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Monday

Mystery Deepens... Was Lost Pilot Eaten by Giant Crabs?



If I had a nickel for every wacky theory that came my way...

"Giant Coconut Crabs with Claws the Size of Texas likely Ate Her Remains!"
Cranky big crab.


This is the latest twist on a twist.  In July Tighar reported that their cadaver dogs had found human remains.  In June they were reporting that coconut crabs were threatening their cadaver dogs.  Couple of days ago, oops, the body must have been dragged off by crabs. 

Um... ok.  Yes, we've all seen the video of a coconut crab executing a pesky seabird. Even that "science alert" news got the headline "Giant Crab Eats Innocent Seabird!" (As opposed to "Guilty Seabird Taken Down by Law Abiding Crab!" Who knows if the seabird is innocent? Maybe he was stealing from the crab... but I digress...)

Yes, I've seen Coconut Crabs.  In the Marianas as well. In fact on Saipan in particular.

Why is that important?

Well, over 200 eyewitnesses claim that they saw Amelia Earhart, Fred Noonan and the Electra after it disappeared on July 3rd, 1937.


Saw her as a captive on the back of a
Japanese truck in 1944. Parked for 30 minutes
in front of him. "Not something you'd forget."
As these pages note, 15 new eyewitnesses have come forth from a recent trip to Saipan, where we interviewed people who either had relatives who saw her (son of a nurse who treated her, daughter of a mother who washed her clothes) or who claim to have seen her with their own eyes (including an eyewitness who lives in San Jose, and two eyewitnesses who saw her being transported by Japanese soldiers on the back of a truck.)


Saw her on the back of the same truck in 1944 a mile away.
Former Congressman, his father saw her come ashore in 1937

That doesn't include the US Marines who claim they found the Electra in a hanger on Saipan, the ones who claim they saw it flown, the ones who claim that saw it in the hangar, the ones who claim they heard officers talking about "Amelia Earhart's plane" or the ones who claim they saw it taken out to the runway and destroyed and buried by US forces.

Or the US Marine who found her briefcase and passport "dry as a bone."
A US Vet, his dad saw her incarcerated in prison in 1937
None of that matters.  Because you see, back in 1940, a British soldier (nameless I guess) claimed he found a skeleton on an island (not uninhabited.  Visited frequently by locals for hunting, fishing and other reason, unless you don't consider local islanders as humans) that "was the right size for Amelia Earhart."

Is that with or without shoes?


This army vet went with a Jeep full of GIs to the
airfield to see "Amelia Earhart's airplane" in a hangar.
Same hangar others claim it was in.
Meanwhile, over 200 islanders claim to have seen a number of detailed, corroborated by other islanders events; the Electra coming down in Mili, the Japanese arresting her, the Electra being taken to Jaluit, her being brought with Fred Noonan to Jaluit, put aboard a seaplane and taken to Saipan, the plane, aboard the Koshu taken to Saipan between July 9th and 19th by the Koshu (for the ships records see Tighar.org for those details).
His mom tended to her wounds in the hospital onSaipan.
Then we have islanders who claim to have treated her wounds, islanders who claim to have washed her clothes, who claim to have met her (one was given a trinket), claim to have seen her in prison, claim to have seen her on the back of a truck as late as 1944 (with two US soldiers who had been shot down in early 1944.)  We have over 200 people who claim to HAVE SEEN HER.
SAW HER as she was escorted onto Saipan.
Story hasn't changed in 70 years.
Not a skeleton. Not a crab eating a skeleton.  The person we know and love as Amelia Earhart.  Why people don't believe them is beyond me to understand or comprehend.  
Navy vet worked with a stevedore who claimed
he pulled the plane off of Mili.
Simple logic will tell you if "People were making up this story about Amelia for some unknown reason (fame/profit) why haven't other islanders come forward and said the same thing?" Where are the islanders from Tinian, Guam, Okinawa, take your pick coming forward and saying "No! We saw her here! We saw her in a camp! We saw her lounging on a houseboat!"  None.  No one. Not a single solitary eyewitness.
Bob Wallack found her briefcase. Dry as a bone.
This briefcase. Which another US Marine saw as well.
And both claimed it LOOKED JUST LIKE THIS ONE.
And not any coconut crabs making the same claim either.

If you go to Saipan some day, and I hope you do, you'll see that the island is not over run by them.  There are some in the woods, up in the hills, but not running around the island snapping up birds or dead bodies.  Wishful thinking perhaps. But none on film yet.
Guarded the Electra for 24 hours. Decoded the message that said
"Why have found Earhart's plane Aslito airfield" in July of 44.
Decoded the message when they decided to fly it. Decoded the message
when they decided to burn it.  Went with a friend and WATCHED THE
ELECTRA BURN.  Sorry if that bothers people - but take it up
with your government, not me.



When Is A Book Not a Book? Evidence that proves the ship was in Jaluit

In light of the latest hoopla with regard to the infamous photograph of the dock on Jaluit that proves Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan were in Japanese custody...

Your honor... I present further evidence.

Let's recap, shall we?

The History Channel and my friend Les Kinney release a photograph that shows a number of verifiable details.  A ship identified on the show as the Koshu towing a plane on a Japanese barge with the same dimensions as the Electra

The show examines that the ship indeed was the Koshu.  We have records from the Koshu itself that show it was in Jaluit in July of 1937 (more on that later.)

The photograph in the portfolio - not a book, nor "a copyrighted book" - but a photo album that's been stamped 1935 - never published, not ever a book -  (if we can't agree on what a book is, what's the point of language anyway?) A book is bound - it's published, it's reprinted - that's not the case here. 


Guess they couldn't bind books in Japan without string.
Or perhaps it is what it is - a porfolio of photos stamped as 1935 incorrectly.

It's a photograph with other photographs taken by the same photographer tied together with the traditional string that photo albums have. 


1935 stamp. Not a copyright notice. Not a bound book by any stretch 
of the imagination. Not a published, reproduced book.  
No other copies of this portfolio.
That's all very clear from the website itself.
Hey look, a 1937 Ford! (just kidding - but you get the idea)

The photo caption for the photograph of the Jaluit dock actually says the ship in the photo is the "Koshu."  Gee willickers - you can't claim the photo proves one thing, then doesn't prove another thing.

When was the Koshu at the dock in Jaluit?  I reveal that below.

The photo has: A man standing on the dock who forensic photo experts claim is a match with Fred Noonan, and the back of what appears to be a woman crouching.  

It looks to my eye that it is Amelia's back - but then I've only amassed 5000 photographs of her, watched 30 hours of stock footage of her, been hired on the Diane Keaton and Hilary Swank films, have been studying her back for oh... 30 years now.  Could it be someone else's back?  I suppose so. But from the pose that I see - my brain said "oh, look, Amelia's back."

So there are other people on the dock as well.  Can these folks be placed on the dock in 1937. As I showed in a previous post here - yes, there is some evidence of Europeans being arrested, detained by the Japanese on these docks in the past.  De Bisschop is one, the fellow "V B 2" who wrote the "I saw Earhart in custody on the dock at Jaluit in 1937" letter is another.

But I digress.

The Marshall Islands issued a preliminary press release where they refuted the "debunking"of the photograph - claiming that their records and oral histories show that dock was not built until 1936.

(They've issued a second official release where they didn't mention the dock, but reaffirmed that they believe the words of the elders who claim they saw the Electra come down, saw the woman pilot arrested, and reported the dock was not built until 1936.)

So what else can we glean from this photograph?

Well, a number of things.

As reported below, an eyewitness who claimed he spoke to a stevedore who helped drag the Electra off of Mili Atoll, and then put it on a Japanese barge which took the Electra to a Japanese ship docked in Majuro.

Andew Bryce, Navy Vet, who spoke to the stevedore on Majuro
who claimed he transported the Electra to a Japanese barge, then to a Japanese ship. His brother Douglas saw the Electra in a hangar on Saipan. What are the odds two vets - brothers would hold key clues to her plane? (Both interviewed in the "eyewitnesses on saipan" footage)

There's an eyewitness report in the footage below that quotes a Marshallese congressman who remembers the day in 1937 when his father took him to the dock to show him the plane on the back of the Japanese ship, and told him about the arrest of an "American spy."


He was a boy when his dad to him to the dock in 1937 to show him the Electra.

There's an eyewitness report in the footage below where Bilimon Amaron, a local on Jaluit, claims the Japanese brought him aboard the Japanese ship to examine Amelia and Fred and he saw the plane on a sling on the back of the ship.


Bilimon Amaron, a man above reproach,
according to his business partner of 40 years. 

Bilimon was filmed at least twice, 
and his story reported in a number of books.
But maybe they're all wrong? Maybe they made that up?

What's a simple logical way to learn if and when this ship, identified by many sources as the Koshu, wound up on Jaluit?

The ship's records.



Turns out there's someone who has examined the ship's records.  Vincent Loomis.  Turns out he wrote about examining those records in 1985.  I found these references this morning, and I will post them verbatim and where they came from:

From a page marked "Warships in the Marshalls in 1937"

Subject: Warships in the Marshalls
Date: 2/21/01
From: "R.R."
Concerning Japanese military in 1937, I have a document that might be of interest.

Department of State
Division of Far Eastern Affairs
5 July 1937
Subject: Search for plane of Amelia Earhart

"Mr. Hayama informed Mr. Ballentine over the telephone that the Japanese Embassy had received an urgent telegram from Tokyo asking that inquiry be made of this Government whether the Japanese Government could be of assistance in connection with the search for Amelia Earhart, in view of the fact that Japan had radio stations and warships in the Marshall Islands... Mr. Ballantine expressed his appreciation etc."

"The significance is that the Japanese did have warships in the Marshall islands on 5 July 1937."

Subject: Re: Warships in the Marshalls
Date: 2/22/01
From: "D.P."

"At the very least, it shows that someone at the Department of State thought that the Japanese had warships in the Marshalls. This is the same intelligence that missed the Japanese planning to bomb Pearl Harbor. Their beliefs could have been incorrect."

(reply) From Ric

The communication alleges that Mr. Hayama (presumably of the Japanese Embassy) called Mr. Ballantine (presumably at the U.S. State Dept.) to tell him that the embassy had just received an offer from the Japanese government to help with the Earhart search because "Japan had radio stations and warships in the Marshall Islands...". 

"This would seem to be a rather straightforward acknowledgement by Japan that it had warships in the Marshall Islands. What ships were they?"

"For (sic) his book Amelia Earhart : The Final Story, Vince Loomis went to considerable efforts to dig out the records of what Japanese ships were in the Marshalls in July 1937. He was trying to figure our (sic) what ship his star witness, Bilimon Amaron, had seen carrying the Earhart Electra on its aft deck." 

"His book claims that he was able to determine that the Japanese really did not carry out the search for Earhart they later claimed to have made, because the ships of the "12th Squadron" supposedly used in the search were, in fact, in port in Japan the whole time. A survey ship also said to have participated in the search, the Kamui (meaning "God's power" and incorrectly listed as Kamoi in most Earhart books) was also in home waters." 

"The only ship Loomis could come up with anywhere near the Marshalls was the seaplane tender Koshu. She was in Ponape, about 400 miles west of the Marshalls, on July 2, 1937 and arrived in Jaluit in the Marshalls on July 13. Loomis says Koshu then left Jaluit but returned sometime before July 19 when she sailed for Truk and eventually Saipan. It is between its departure from and return from Jaluit that he says the ship picked up Earhart, Noonan and the plane at Mili Atoll in the southern Marshalls.

LTM,
Ric"

Subject: Re: Warships in the Marshalls
Date: 2/23/001
From: "R.J."

"Here's a pertinent extract from the book TFKing, and others are writing:

"The U.S. also asked the Japanese to search the areas around the Marshall Islands, and official correspondence at the time indicated that they asked the oceanographic survey ship Koshu to do so. The Koshu arrived in the Marshall Island area on or about July 9th, and continued searching for about ten days. 

A 1949 U.S. Army Intelligence report states that despite the fact that no documentation exists in the Japanese Navy, interviews of Japanese officials on Jaliut (sic) and elsewhere indicated that both the Koshu and Kamoi searched the Marshall Islands, with the assistance of a large-type flying boat. Bridge logs of the Kamoi clearly state it was no where near the Marshalls during this time, and we have no documentary evidence that a flying boat was ever used to search for wreckage. 

The report also states that no traces of the Electra were found. 1. The Japanese also offered to search the Gilberts, an offer that seems to have been (understandably) ignored. 2. The Koshu was doing oceanographic surveys, and based upon their reports, one can deduce from their speed and departure date to have arrived in the Marshalls (Jaluit) no earlier than July 9th. 

Official correspondence between the US Navy and State Dept. and Japanese officials at that time acknowledge only the Koshu in assisting in the survey for AE wreckage.... 

What's interesting about this Army Intelligence report is that it is the first document that names the Kamoi. Every AE book states the Kamoi and Koshu were involved in the search. Hmmm. Now about that seaplane...no confirming documents on its existance (sic) ...but I wonder if the anecdotes about a plane being sighted in and around Jaluit during the search phase on the back of a ship was this seaplane and not AE's...I wonder..."


1 US Army Intelligence, 1949a; Kamoi bridge logs in Jacobson archives; Maritime Safety Agency, Tokyo, 1951, Hydrographic Bulletin, 981(8).
2 Western Pacific High Commission, 1937a; U.S. Department of State, 1937; U.S. Navy, 1937e; Spading, 1997.

(reply) From Ric

"We clearly have the Kamui (Kamoi - whatever) nailed, but I'm a bit fuzzy about the Koshu. The Loomis book includes copies of various diplomatic exchanges between the U.S. and Japan but there's no reference to the Koshu. Mike Holt couldn't find a Koshu in A. J. Watts' Japanese Warships of WW2. I wonder what evidence we have that there even was such a boat?

The Honolulu Star Bulletin has an AP release dated 6 Jul 37 from New York; in sum, Japanese officials report that the "2100 ton survey ship Kooshu [sic]" is searching in the Marshall Islands. (In the main article the spelling is "Koshu", so probably an extra "o" typo. Also the Japanese were searching in "other areas near Howland".)

"This is probably independent corroboration of the Koshu's status. Fukiko Aoki, Japanese author, writes in Searching for Amelia Earhart in 1984 (not translated as of yet) that there were two Japanese ships in the area. The "battleship Koshu" and the carrier Kamoi." 

(RM: Obvious error or mistranslation from Ms. Aoki - not a battleship) 

"According to her, she reviewed the logs of the Koshu which reflect the dates and places reported by Ric. The Koshu left Jaluit on 19 Jul 37 headed to Saipan."

(RM: Hello? The Koshu was in Jaluit from July 9th to July 19th?  Then headed to Saipan?  Gee, I wonder what it was taking to Saipan?  Oh, I don't know. Perhaps that shiny aluminum plane that both Bilimon Amaron and Oscar De Brum claim they saw?

There are multiple reports that claim Amelia was taken to Saipan by hydroplane - there is even a claim that a suitcase of hers was found on Truk. (By a GI during the war) I'm claiming neither, but there have been claims made about both.

Ms. Blanco-Akiyama says she was at the seaplane harbor when Amelia and Fred came up the docks, as does the son of another eyewitness in the "Eyewitnesses on Saipan" footage below. (As do eyewitnesses in Goerner's book and his interviews in 1963. But these documents are posted on a research webpage that states that the Koshu not only was docked in Jaluit in July of 1937 but that it went from Jaluit to Saipan. How cool is that?)

Subject: Re: Warships in the Marshalls
Date: 2/22/01
From: "E. E."
Found on www.ibiblio.org/pha/pha/misc/45-41.html

From: U.S. Congress Joint Committee on Pearl Harbor Attack Hearings; Pt. 35, the Clausen Investigation, pp. 52-62.

Fourth Fleet:
Survey and Patrol Division: Koshu

"Seems to be some sort of cargo ship"

From Ric

"Bingo. Nice work. At least a ship by that name existed."

These reports printed from: 
https://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Forum/Highlights121_140/highlights127p2.html


The "Ric" in these reports are written replies from the founder of Tighar.org, Ric Gillespie. (Whose latest expedition (I think this is the 7th or 8th over the past 30 years) is being covered by National Geographic. The one with the cadaver dogs.)

These mentions of the Koshu on Jaluit are from his excellent repository of all things Earhart, the extensive research files from Tighar.org

Not to be overly obvious - but these messages were from 2001.  They were generally focused on the Kamoi - a ship that many thought was involved with the search for AE's plane.  But obviously, it's the Koshu that deserves focus.

Here's the Koshu in the photograph (so identified in the photo caption when put into the photo album originally).



And as confirmed here for the first time, it's in the ship's records that it was docked in Jaluit in July of 1937.

THE PHOTOGRAPH WAS OBVIOUSLY TAKEN BETWEEN JULY 9 AND JULY 19TH 1937. IT'S THE ONLY TIME THE DOCK EXISTED AND THE KOSHU WAS IN THE HARBOR AT THE SAME TIME.

Amelia kneeling in front of the wheel that the dust cover
came from in a previous post

People tend to put theories in opposing camps.

Frankly, I don't care a fig about opposing camps. Or theories. I stick to when there is more than one eyewitness report that can be corroborated. 

I have no beef with Tighar or their work, or their research. I admit I was annoyed when I got to Saipan and someone from their organization called the Saipan newspaper ("Marianas Variety") and claimed I was some "Hollywood" fellow trying to get people to say anything on camera. That I was influencing their replies by 'twisting the questions.' The article was posted before I'd interviewed anyone.

The opposite was true.  I found pretty quickly that if you go to Saipan and ask about Earhart people close their doors in your face.  Or spout the official story that she disappeared.  Unless you ask them the question "So what was it like for you and your family during and prior to the war?"

And when they open up about their experiences, their own life stories - they begin to talk about how well they got along with the Japanese, how Japan brought wealth and friends to the island from 1914 on. That it was only just prior to the onset of war that they suddenly imported battle weary troops from Manchuria who treated the Saipanese "as slaves." Who executed them for not bowing low enough. Who took all of their homes and sent the populace to live in caves.


Photo from a private family album on Saipan

And after those stories, I'd ask "So did you or anyone in your family ever hear anything about a female pilot on Saipan?" 

And they would preface it with "I don't know who she was. If you ask me if it was Earhart, I will tell you - I don't know. We called all Caucasian people Europeans. (Spain ruled Saipan, then Germany, then Japan, now the US.)  

But yes, my "mother" "brother" "father" "grandfather" told the following story..." - and that is the eyewitness testimony I gathered.  10 hours of it.


When the Prime Minister of Japan visited Saipan. A private family photo.

And the stories were the same. She ("the female pilot" "the european woman dressed like a man") came to the island in July of 1937. Many people saw her - only the people who saw her weren't "Europeans."  

As I told the Marianas Variety "It's a peculiar form of racism that doesn't listen to eyewitness testimony of islanders and claims people didn't see what they saw, or for some reason would lie about it, or somehow conspire to tell THE SAME STORY." (emphasis added, because well, it's annoying to have to repeat myself)

I didn't bother uploading the parts where they spoke of how their families survived the war - for example, one fellow said "I saw Amelia just prior to the War."  I said "You mean in 1941?"  He said "No, it was May of 1944. She was on the back of a truck..."  
His memory of seeing Earhart on the back of a truck was
independently corroborated by another Saipanese businessman
who claimed he saw the same truck on the same day a mile further down the road.

I realized May of 44 was just prior to "the war" which began on Saipan in June...when the US came ashore. It's an example of listening with "Caucasian ears."  I thought he meant the war that began in 1941. He meant the war that began on Saipan in 1944.

As I've mentioned before - I was part of the sizzle reel for the History Channel show, and I was asked to be part of it, but I ultimately declined.  

I have my own Earhart projects, and am not invested in selling anyone's point of view. I don't represent the show, or their theory or any other nonsense. 

Yes, the show had many details that can be verified in my research as well. But enough with the "tastes great" "less filling" arguments - there is evidence that points to these simple facts that she landed the plane, it was picked up, and she and plane were taken to Saipan where numerous people saw her, and US Marines found her plane.

I'm just interested in the truth.



We owe that to her at the very least.

I'd like to congratulate Tighar for helping to prove the precise date that the Koshu was in Jaluit.  They got it originally from Vincent Loomis' book about Earhart, who Mr. Gillespie quotes above.

Apparently the ships records prove that the Koshu arrived in Jaluit on July 9th and stayed until the 19th.

Six days after she landed at Mili atoll.

Three days after she was heard broadcasting from her plane (and Tighar's reports show those reports extensively). 

Three days after the Japanese came to the island, arrested her - dragged the Electra (with the help of 40 Marshallese men) onto the barge and transported it to Majuro and then to Jaluit. (The Marshallese men were interviewed by Mike Harris, Dick Spink, Les Kinney and Jim Hayton. I was invited on that trip too, but declined.)



So there you have it. 

Proof that the Koshu was in Jaluit in July, 1937.

Just as its been reported.

Just as its shown in this photograph.

The photo must have been taken sometime between July 9th and 19th, 1937.  



So the Marshallese government says that its elders remember the dock being built in 1936. As they noted so eloquently; there was no dock in 1935.  

The League of Nations forbid it - yet when they built the dock, add fortifications, guns, ammo - they began arresting, beheading, detaining Europeans as spies.

That's why this photograph was classified and in the Office of Naval Intelligence. 

Not because it showed the Electra on a barge on the back of the Koshu. Not because it showed Amelia - or a woman who has the same shoulders as Amelia - or Fred Noonan standing on the dock.



Because it proved there was a new dock.

Just a little bit of evidence that proves the same thing that's been said before.  Amelia was captured by the Japanese, taken to Jaluit - and later to Saipan. Seven years later on June 19th 1944, the Electra was found by US Marines at Aslito airfield on Saipan. (see the eyewitness reports below and to the side of this panel.) Her briefcase was recovered, part of her body, and the Electra itself was destroyed (and witnessed by these GIs)

Saipan is where she died. Where the Electra was found on June 19th 1944 by US Marines.

It's not an opinion, belief or theory.  It's just eyewitness reports.  Not conflicting reports. Consistent reports. The same story. If you can only open your ears.

You're welcome.



Friday

Evidence Earhart was on Saipan in 1937

In light of the recent competing headlines, I'm putting together a timeline of events for those who need to understand what actually happened to Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan.




1. As the History Channel show reported, Earhart's Electra encountered a storm near Howland that pushed the Electra off course and NW of Howland.  (As noted on this blog, I was invited to participate in the show, was part of the sizzle reel used to sell the show to History Channel.  But because I have my own projects, I deferred from participating. However, the show was accurate as to the research I've seen. The photograph and the evidence of why and how she turned to the Gilberts was new to me.) When Amelia turned to "fly to the Gilberts" as the show reported - the first island she came upon was not in the Gilberts - it was Endriken Isle in Mili.


Endriken Island - at high tide. Low tide you could "land a 747" according
to one researcher who's been there.
How do we know this for a fact?

First of all, a number of people saw her plane land.  The Queen of Mili Atoll was interviewed in Oliver Knagg's book "Amelia Earhart: Her Last Flight." I interviewed the cameraman who filmed that footage of his trip to the Marshalls. He confirmed the details that are in his book (and that the footage is in legal limbo but exists)
Pretty soon, it's going to be swamped. Google Earth


Oliver Knaggs on Saipan 1983
Looking at a cell before the metal bars removed.

On a recent trip to the Marshalls, Mike Harris, Les Kinney and Dick Spink all heard from islanders that claimed the Japanese had asked them to take her plane off of Mili atoll. 

Dick Spink spoke directly to islanders whose parents were fishing at the same fishing hole that exists to this day.  They brought a Japanese barge into the harbor, dragged the plane across the island, and put it aboard the Japanese barge.

Dick Spink found a number of pieces of the plane from his six trips to search the island.  He found a red painted piece of a cap, he found a piece of metal that could only fit her plane, and on their recent excursion, Les Kinney found a piece of rolled aluminum that could have come from her plane.  

I interviewed a retired NTSB official who showed me how the piece from her plane fit the exact same wheel - and in his professional opinion "the plane part could only come from her Electra."  That's not any opinion. That's a professional opinion of an NTSB investigator Jim Hayton who has testified before Congress.


Dick Spink, former NTSB investigator Jim Hayton, myself
and Mike Harris at Dick Spink's table, looking over the plane parts
and his extensive research. Photo copyright Dick Spink

So the History Channel episode only showed 1 piece from her plane. According to the NTSB expert I interviewed on camera, there is at least one other part for certain, and a smaller piece that could have come from her plane - in his professional opinion. 

The fact that no other plane parts from any other plane have been found in or near the island is also key.



NTSB Investigator Jim Hayton showing how this dust shield fit on the identical wheel rim,
unique to only this version of the Electra. It fit perfectly.
Photo Copyright Richard Martini 2014
The dust shield from the 1937 Electra manual. It describes the exact same
piece that Spink found. Copyright Richard Martini

Piece of a plane with red trim found on Mili atoll.
Comparing it to an actual piece of AE's Electra. Copyright Richard Martini.

Note the color red above - Not the same color to the eye
but analysis was inconclusive that it was the same paint.
Could have been.  But not definitively. Copyright Richard Martini.
So we know that a silver plane came down in Mili in July 1937. We know (as reported) that two caucasians survived, we know that one of them was a woman. The plane left behind a trail of it's being dragged across the island.  According to locals, it was put aboard a Japanese barge and taken away.

2.  The plane was first taken to Majuro, where a stevedore claims he first brought the Electra.  It was then taken, along with Amelia and Fred to Jaluit. (And from there she and Fred and the plane were taken to Saipan.)


Navy Vet Andrew Bryce, from Denver,
said he worked with a stevedore on Majuro who claimed he
moved the plane from Mili to a Japanese barge to Majuro. Photo Copyright Richard Martini
How do we know this for a fact?


Footage Copyright Mike Harris

Oscar de Brum, former Congressman from the Marshalls, who has testified before Congress, tells us in the clip at the end of this post, that he was there when his father took him to the dock and showed him the plane on back of the ship.  He remembers the moment clearly.  (Footage shot by Mike Harris in the Marshalls in 1980.)


Copyright Mike Harris

Bilimon Amaron was taken aboard the ship and tended to her and Fred's wounds.  His testimony was repeated in other places, both on camera and in print.  His reputation is beyond reproach - as his business partner of 40 years claims in his clip below.


Jaluit docks in the office of Naval Intelligence file.
Photograph demonstrates illegal fortification of the harbor
by the Japanese govt. contrary to their league of nations treaty.
They left the league in 1935, the dock was built in 1936

The photograph from the History channel shows a number of people on a dock in 1937. Photographic experts claim that the photo of Fred is a match.  

The naked eye, looking at the back of the woman crouching on the deck - looks like Amelia's shoulders and back. Having access to over 5000 photographs of her, and 30 hours of archival footage, I can say that I instantly spotted it when I saw the photograph. 


Copyright Mike Harris.
The photo also shows what Oscar de Brum and Bilimon Amaron claim they saw - the Electra on the back of the ship.  (In Bilimon's case, by the time he was visiting her aboard the ship, it was already in a sling at the back of the ship according to his testimony below.)


Copyright Mike Harris
As noted on this blog, two other eyewitnesses spoke about the fortifications of the harbor in 1937 and how they were arresting people for seeing them.  As mentioned early, two British subjects were executed for spying in the Marshalls in 1936, and De Bisschop's account refers to a British and American who appear to have "disappeared" for spying.

So a number of people claim to have seen Amelia and Fred and the Electra at Jaluit docks in 1937.  The photograph appears to corroborate their testimony - but it doesn't need to.  (Unless you inherently don't believe what islanders have to say.)

3. At least two people on camera claim they saw her, or their parent saw her come ashore on Saipan.  Josephine Blanco Akiyama, and a former Congressman from Saipan tell the same story - one who lives on Saipan, one who has lived near SF for 40 years - that of the two prisoners being led ashore and everyone told to "lower their eyes."  Clearly Josephone and the Congressman's father did not,and repeated their stories. (see the clip below where his father describes the same story that Josephine reports)


Ray's mom treated her in the hospital. Copyright Richard Martini
Many Saipanese saw her in Garapan - one woman's mother cleaned her clothes, Ray Guiterrez's mother tended to her in the hospital (which is now the war museum on Saipan) others saw her in her prison cell.  Ultimately they claim that she died in prison - Fred Goerner's witnesses in 1963 say she died of dysentery.


This man and his brother saw her on the back of a truck
in Garapan in 1937 when he was 12. "First caucasian woman I've ever seen,
dressed like a man, in Japanese custody.  It's not something you forget."
Another Saipanese businessman confirmed this story, as he saw
her on the same day further down the road. Copyright Richard Martini
She was buried and her body was dug up by two GI's.  Those GIs have been interviewed by a number of people, but in the Chicago Tribune in 1977, (UPI, January) they claimed they only partially recovered her body ("an arm and a partial ribcage").  


Her briefcase. Same case described by
two GIs who did not know each other.
This is her packing it for the last flight.
Her briefcase was found in a safe in Garapan by US Marine Robert Wallack. Inside her briefcase was her passport, maps and other papers "dry as a bone." 

Robert told me on camera that he was surprised, and kept the briefcase for two weeks before turning it over to the 82nd's Louis Wallace.  Wallace's assistant, Earskin Nabors cataloged the briefcase, and described it to me in an interview - the same case.

Both men described the briefcase to me - both had never seen a photograph of it. Their independent versions described the EXACT SAME BRIEFCASE.


Josephine saw her come up the docks in 1937. Photo copyright Richard Martini

Here's Josephine in 1937 with the Doctor with
whom she shared her story. It was he who directed
authorities to interview Josephine at the time. From her own book. Copyright Josephine Blanco
EJ Nabers, Copyright Richard Martini
Nabers decoded a message on June 19, 1944 that "Amelia Earhart's airplane has been found at Aslito airfield."  

He decoded the message in triplicate which Wallace had to sign.  (Nabers said he was "surprised" by his commanding officers lack of reaction.)  

Wallace ordered Nabers to "guard the plane" which he did for 24 hours. While guarding the plane, some "navy brass" came to see the plane and loudly declared "we know you have Earhart's airplane in there, we want to see it."  

Nabers refused their entry, to the point of drawing his service weapon.
"Orders is orders" he told me he said.



My friend Bob, who found her briefcase and held onto it for 2 weeks.
He turned it over to Nabor's CO. Copyright Richard Martini
Tom Devine, a US army vet in the postal service witnessed that conversation.  He said it to me on camera before I interviewed Nabers - and did not know who Nabers was.  


It was Devine's claim that he saw the Electra on Saipan
that prompted a state dept meeting in Tokyo with the Captain of
the Koshu and others, including General MacArthur
who promised to "get to the bottom of this."  He did not. 
Copyright Richard Martini
Nabers went on to say that he turned the briefcase over to a Navy man from ONI (whom I have been able to identify) and later, decoded a message they were going to fly the Electra.


Her initial cell, yards from where Fred Noonan
was reportedly kept. Copyright Richard Martini

Exterior of the cell Copyright Richard Martini

According to numerous eyewitnesses (in Tom Devine's books) a number of GIs saw the plane "fly around the field" on the south end of the island.  


Aslito had a number of intact hangars when it was liberated
on June 19, 1944
At about this time, Douglas Bryce, a radio repair man saw the plane in its hangar on Aslito.  He was told "Did you know they found Earhart's airplane?" and he and fellow soldiers drove down from Mt. Tapachou to see it. That testimony is in the footage below.  

Doug Bryce described the hangar to me in detail, and I was able to locate it precisely on the airfield, which matches photographs from the era.  It was one of the few hangars left intact.  Other people have said they saw the plane in the same hangar (including Nabers, who guarded it for 24 hours.)

Some of the wreckage on Alisito - but the Electra
was not only intact, but flyable.

Finally, Nabers reports that he decoded a message that said they were going to destroy the plane.  He and other soldiers went out to watch this occur - I've stood in the spot where they witnesses the burning of her plane. He gave me the names of the other fellows who went with them. He said at some point he realized "they shouldn't be there" but stayed to watch as the Electra was destroyed. 

A number of veterans saw the plane "on fire," reported that detail in Tom Devine's books - but Tom himself claims that he heard the explosion, and went down to the field - and the same plane he had seen close up only days before had been set afire. (see his clip in the footage below)


As Doug Bryce said in his interview "We all knew what
her plane looked like. It was the most famous plane
on the planet and had disappeared 7 years earlier."
Eyewitnesses seeing the same event - who had never met, yet repeated their stories to me on camera 70 years later.

Here they are discussing it on my camera:





And finally, the original press release prepared by the Foreign Office of the Marshall Islands.  I understand that they took the time to amend it - I guess so as not to not offend people - but the amended version does nothing to argue any facts differently than original one. I'm a journalist as well as a filmmaker.  And the amended press release does not refute the original press release, or amend it in any way.  I suggest allowing the truth to set one free is always allowable in all cases.  But I have posted both, to be fair, to show how they amended the original.  

That still doesn't mean the photograph is incorrect, or that it does not depict Fred Noonan, Amelia Earhart and the Electra on the back of a barge in 1937.  All it's doing is giving confirmation of the above eyewitness stories.  

Not conflicting. Not contrary. Some are by Caucasians for those who can only hear what Caucasians say - and some are from native islanders - for those who actually want to hear what they said or saw without the filter of a Caucasian point of view.

As noted earlier - an investigator has further documents that he's going to publish when he finishes his book.  Being meticulous,  he says he does not want to release his evidence without proof where his documents came from and how they got there.  I cannot reveal what's in them, only report I've been told that they confirm that everything in the above reports is accurate. -- That she came down in Mili, that the US intercepted and decoded that fact, but that they could not reveal they knew she had been arrested by the Japanese because it would prove they had broken their codes. And like Churchill and the Enigma machine revelations - "lives were sacrificed" for that intelligence. 

In this case, the lives of Fred Noonan and Amelia Earhart.

Again, I don't know why these stories make people upset nor am I interested in arguing about it.  These are simply eyewitness reports of what people saw. They are consistent. They can be corroborated. 

There are no other islanders on any other island who've told any other story like them. If they were being made up - wouldn't someone have come up with some alternate story? 

These people's stories have been told without any promise of money, fame or other motivation. They just wanted to speak the truth about something they witnessed, or their family member told them. In the case of one interviewee, he said "I don't care what happens to me for telling this story, but I wanted to speak the truth."  Obviously this Saipan local had been threatened in the past or feared for what he said about Earhart. Why or by whom, I don't know.  I was startled to hear him say it on camera.

Some were ridiculed for years by others who are/were convinced their version is correct. But none of those dissenting people - the debunkers - have ever met or interviewed a single eyewitness to corroborate their claims or denials. That's telling in and of itself.  

Finally - I'm not interested in arguing about why these people took the time to speak to me on camera about something they witnesses, saw or heard - because it's clear to me why they've done so and should be to anyone with open eyes.

Here are excerpts of the above interviews:



Eyewitness Accounts: Published

EYEWITNESS: THE AMELIA EARHART INCIDENT BY THOMAS E DEVINE WITH RICHARD M DALEY

Pg 40. “Glancing out on the runway ramp.. an area not the main part of Aslito Field, but an extended arm of the airstrip at the southwest corner… Near an embankment was (AE’s plane). (LATER) .. a muffled explosion at Aslito Field erupted into a large flash fire… I crouched and crawled toward the airfield. When I could see what was burning, I was aghast! The twin engine plane was engulfed in flames! I could not see anyone by the light of the fire… in July 1944.”

THE SEARCH FOR AMELIA EARHART BY FRED GOERNER

Goerner gathers dozens of eyewitnesses to Earhart’s incarceration and second hand info about her execution.

AMELIA EARHART: LAST FLIGHT

Amelia reveals she did not know Morse code (and neither did Fred Noonan)

AMELIA EARHART:HER LAST FLIGHT

By OLIVER KNAGSS

South African journalist gathers numerous eyewitnesses at Mili, Majuro and Jaluit. There is footage of these interviews, but it exists somewhere in Miami – still trying to locate the negative.

AMELIA EARHART: THE MYSTERY SOLVED By ELGEN M LONG AND MARIE K LONG

Elgen shows how the original plan devised by radio man Harry Manning was adhered to by the Coast Guard Itasca – they didn’t know Manning got off the plane in Hawaii and wasn’t on the electra. So 90% of all their communication was in Morse code – something neither AE or FN knew.

“WITH OUR OWN EYES – EYEWTINESSES TO THE FINAL DAYS OF AMELIA EARHART” MIKE CAMPBELL WITH THOMAS E DEVINE

PG 32. Robert Sosbe, 1st battalion 20th Marines, 4th marine division) Sosbe said he saw the Electra before and during its destruction) “on or about D+5 after our infantry had captured Alsito, the night before, then were driven off, only to capture it again, our Co was called up to fill a gap between our infantry and the 27th Army infantry. The trucks carrying us stopped off the opposite side of the runway from the hangars and tower about 3 to 5 hundred yds. This two engine airplane was pulled from the hangar to off the runway where it was engulfed in flames from one end to the other. I can still remember exactly the way it burned, how the frame and ribs because it was visible. It was about half dark. It burned approximately 15-30 minutes.”

Same page: a letter from Earskine Nabers: “I am seeking Marines who were placed on duty at Aslito to guard a padlocked hangar containing AE’s plane. The hangar was not one of those located along the runway. It was located near what may have been a Japanese administration building, and an unfinished hangar at the tarmac, in the southwest corner of the airfield.

The follow up letter (pg 33)

…”we had to get Col. Clarence R Wallace to sign all the messages that came through the message center.) Hq 8th moved back to bivouac area. I was dropped off at the Hangar for guard duty at the main road that went by west side of hangar. The road that went out to hangar, I was placed on the right side, just as it left the main road….

Pg 34 The best I can recall the plane was pulled on the field by a jeep.. the plane was facing north after the plane was parked and jeep moved. A plane came over real low and on the next pass he strafed the plane and it went up in a huge fireball. (We were sitting on the west side of the airfield about one hundred yards from the plane. We were on higher ground. As far as I remember, the (men) that pulled the plane on the field and us guys from H & S 8th were the only ones there.”

Pg 36 Marine Capt Earl Ford of Fallbrook, CA, artillery master sgt with 2nd Marines. Interview 6-7-88 by Paul Cook. “The aircraft was about 100 yards (from me) maybe less. We all saw it. No way we could miss it. A civilian twin engine. No way it was military. American aircraft in civil registration… some officers were saying it was Amelia’s… it had only two windows on the side, back here.”

Arthur Nash, Air Corps Corps, P47 group on Aslito. Claims he saw the plane on July 4, 1944 (book says 1945, must be a misprint based on following) pg 40:

“After landing on Isley.. at 2:30 pm, Japanese soldiers were running around the airstrip, one killed himself in the cockpit of a P47D with a grenade…” I slept fairly well (in the hangar) and (in the morning) wandered over to a large hole in the hangar wall facing the other hangar. The hangar floor and the area between the hangars was littered with debris, displace with siding from the hangars, maybe 65 yards apart, but close enough to get a good look at a familiar aircraft outside the other hangar. My eyesight was acute and what I saw was Amelia Earhart’s airplane!... the next morning I went over to see it but it was gone.”

Jerrell Chatham, 1st platoon, I company, 3rd regiment, 2nd marine deivions: “I was driving trucks .. on Saipan… when we went ashore I saw the hangar where Amelia Earhart’s plane was stored, I also saw the plane in the air. They told us not to go close to the airplane hangar and we did not…”

Pg 44: Howard Ferris, US Marines: “Sent to Saipan for guard dutey… an old hangar structure at end of a runway. This hangar was not large,.. small trees in front of big doors.. (then he recounts the same Marine argument that Devine and Nabers recount – where some Navy brass attempted to get in, but a Marine (Nabers) refused them entry.)” Howard was not present at the fire, but one of his buddies was. The buddy said a truck arrived with many gas cans and the guards saturated the entire hangar.. and it burned totally.

Pg 50 Robert Sowash, 23rd regiment 4th Marines Division: “I saw a plane in a building that was not a military plane.. I remember other Marines saying it was the same as Earhart’s. Later the place was cordoned off..”

Pete Leblanc, 121st Naval CB’s, 4th Marine division: “some of our guys were sneaking over towards the airfield to try and see (AE’s plane). We heard there were guards there. Then it was burned up later.”

AMELIA EARHART: LOST LEGEND - DONALD MOYER WILSON

Over 200 eyewitnesses as gathered by all the different authors with the various reports of her landing on Mili, being brought to Jaluit and incarcerated in Garapan prison.