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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Wednesday

Paperwork and film work...

Things happen on the island on "island time."  Still we're amazed at the lightning assistance we've gotten from the government agencies here.  What normally takes 18 days has been cut down to the wire, and everyone is bending over backwards to help us.  So a hearty thank you to all the folks who are giving us a hand.

Some latest developments.

Ed Williams
Did an interview with a gentleman who lives and works here in Saipan, and he spoke of his flight instructor - a man who was the youngest WWII veteran from Florida.  That gentleman told Ed Williams that he was shot down by the Japanese when he was only 16 years old.  He was a tail gunner on a plane, and he said the Japanese captors were friendly with him, and one spoke English.  That particular fellow didn't say what island he was on, but told the young gunner that he had seen Amelia Earhart when she was under arrest after being "shot down."  He said the pilot was "fastidiousness about her food, washing it before eating it."

We've heard scenarios of her being "shot down" before.  Mike Harris interviewed a couple of fellows in 1983, one whom repeated the same story ("Lotan Jack") about her being shot, or forced down by a zero.  Also Manny Muna recalled the Captain of the Fukud Maru ship claiming that one of the pilots from his ship had "shot down the American pilot."

We've spent more than a few hours shuttling paperwork from one government office to the next.  We try to let them know that we don't want to take anything from the island, and that we are just intent on bringing the story to its conclusion - but as anyone knows, permits take time.  We are committed to stay until we dig where we need to.  Here's one office we spend some time in:



More information coming forth from islanders.  We spoke to a gentleman whose father claimed that when he was ordered to bow his head by the Japanese, he did not - and saw the aviatrix and another "thin man."  Of course, living on the island, away from all media, he didn't know who the "equally tall woman" was, but described her with short hair.  He said they were both "europeans."  The natives here are very precise, very exact about what they say.  In fact in the 20 some interviews we've done, not one will say they saw something they didn't see - in fact they will go out of their way to say "I did not see this, and I cannot verify the person who told me this story was telling the truth, but..."  In our case we are using these secondary sources to back up some of the primary sources that Mike Harris interviewed (Not "Buddy" TC Brennan as is frequently reported - Brennan sought out Mike Harris who was directing the footage being shot about the search - some years later Brennan released a book and documentary, but never received permission from Mike Harris, who still owns and has the original footage.)

We've just had a corroboration of another story from a woman who we will be interviewing in the next couple of days.  She has confirmed the detail that we heard just yesterday about the location of where the American flyer who was a prisoner was executed.  It's not far from here:

Old Japanese Jail
We've already done ground penetrating radar and found some unusual disturbance in the earth.  We did not come here looking for Amelia Earhart's body - or that of Fred Noonan - it was reportedly dug up by Privates Hansen and Burke in 1944 (their own report, posted in the "Stars and Stripes" of all papers, reporting that they dug up here body in Saipan,also reported and interviewed by Fred Goerner "Searching for Amelia" ).  But we are following whatever the story brings our way.

We also spoke with historian Herbert Rosario who did a masterful job of recording the oral histories of the Saipan natives - over 300 individual tapes.  We looked at a number of them, including from a gentleman who was a former policeman.  Herbert was told off camera by one individual that he had seen Amelia Earhart in the cell - but did not want to say it on camera.  It's either that he didn't want to be caught in a lie, or he didn't want to reveal what he knew on camera.  We've found that to be the case with a number of natives - there has been a culture of secrecy for decades here.  We've been invited to interview an elderly gent who says he saw her in her cell, but insists we not publish his name or take footage of his testimony.  We'll report what he has to say.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking and we're doing our best to hunt down as many leads as we can. Thanks for tuning in....

The Sugar King of Saipan greeting the sunset


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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.