This webpage examines the eyewitness accounts and other evidence that shows Amelia and Fred were arrested and taken to Saipan. There were over 200 individuals who claimed they saw her, this site examines who they were, and what they heard or saw. It includes details of evidence the Electra was found on Saipan, interviews with people who saw her and the Electra before and after they were taken to Saipan. Interviews with over two dozen Saipanese who claim they saw her there and over a dozen US Marines who claim they found the Electra, her passport, briefcase and other details.


More interviews, some radio time, gathering footage continues

Hello readers of the Earhart on Saipan blog!

We did an interview with Catherine Rosario Perry today, on Saipan's 99.5 FM "Your Humanities Half Hour."  Rich Martini handled the history and journey of ARA, and how we came to be on the island, and why we felt it was worth pursuing the eyewitness reports that Amelia and Fred Noonan were seen many times by many people on the island.

We'll post a link as soon as it becomes available.

Catherine R Perry in action
"Your Humanities Half Hour" on 99.5

Rich discussed how he and Mike Harris had followed roughly the same path back in the 80's with regard to finding eyewitnesses who could tell their story about Saipan.  Mike filmed a number of interviews back then, and Rich pursued the Earhart story as a feature film.  When he wound up working on "Amelia" he decided to focus his efforts on the documentary version of the story, and included a number of interviews he had done with US Marines who claimed to find the Electra during WWII parked on Aslito airfield.
Rich with witness Delores Takamane across from the old jail

As Rich pointed out, he wasn't pursuing the "why" she wound up on Saipan, or even the "how" she wound up there.  He just zeroed in on eyewitness reports to see if they could be corroborated, either by other eyewitnesses, or people who could vouch for their witness' veracity.  And he said that he's found 17 new eyewitnesses that have never been recorded before on Saipan who claim they saw Amelia and Fred Noonan there after she disappeared.

Paul Cooper and Mike Harris speaking about the search
Will post the video of this talk in a few days
We're continuing our interviews with people, but back stateside.  As reported recently, Paul Cooper met a fellow who said he knew a gentleman in Texas who claimed he's a retired CIA employee, and that he witnessed the destruction of the airplane on Aslito field.  We're seeking an interview with him, who would be our seventh Marine to claim to seeing the Electra there (not including the ones who spoke to Tom Devine and Mike Campbell in their book).  This will be the 7th Marine that we have on camera telling his story.
Newsman Fred Goerner wrote "Searching for Earhart"
and visited Saipan three times in his research
Fred interviewed this woman in 1960.. but
no one bothered to put her on film. We will.
We are also speaking with the very first eyewitness to come forward, a Saipan native who lives in the US.  This woman has never been put on camera before, and so we felt it important to do so, and let her tell her story herself.

As with much reporting about Amelia Earhart and this saga - it all depends on the author's point of view, or preconceived idea, or conclusions about what really happened.  However, by way of a documentary, the audience is allowed to think for themselves, to hear the testimony themselves, and to make up their own minds whether they consider it to be false, manipulated, or too coincidental to be anything but true.  That's why the amount of eyewitnesses keeps growing.
This author, Oliver Knaggs, interviewed a number of people on camera for his book
We've also been able to track down the footage taken during a trip to Mili in the 1980's which will hopefully show those native islanders recounting their own stories about what did or didn't happen.  They claim they saw the Electra land there on the atoll in 1937, and the female and male who emerged from the plane were arrested by the Japanese and the plane was taken away by a Japanese barge.  We have testimony about where the plane went next, by other eyewitnesses.  And eventually those eyewitnesses all agree on the point that this female pilot and the man traveling with her, were taken to Saipan and incarcerated for being spies.

Hard to find book, however, Knaggs interviews some of
the same people who Mike Harris interviewed in 1983
Whether they were spies or not is subject to conjecture.  We know they were arrested as spies, because eyewitnesses were told by Japanese soldiers not to tell anyone what they'd see, or about the "American spies" upon fear of death.  We know that a Navy mechanic claimed to install Fairchild "Aerial Surveillance cameras (spy cameras) into her plane in Burbank.  We know that if she had been caught by the Japanese spying on them it would have been considered an act of war - as in 1937, when a spy was caught, it was considered an act of war.

But again, we aren't focusing on the why.  Just the what. As in "What happened?"

Lest we forget who we're talking about. American hero. Never thanked for her sacrifice to country.
Stay tuned...

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Eyewitness Accounts: Published


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.”


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


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



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.


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.


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.”


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.