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.


The Airfield, The 2nd Eyewitness, The One who started it all...

Greetings from the page dedicated to finding the truth about whether or not Amelia Earhart and her Electra were ever on Saipan...

Digging on the airfield.
Note the Japanese bunker in background
Digging has continued at Alsito Airfield.  It took us a long time, and we jumped through all the hoops, but Captain Cooper was able to put shovel to dirt so to speak, in an attempt to dig up one piece of an airplane.
Digging at Alsito airfield. Captain Cooper and Jerry Facey assisting. Photo by Robert Rustin
It's a long shot to be sure.  But the logic goes like this; we have a number of people who claim they saw Amelia Earhart incarcerated on Saipan.  New eyewitness testimony, never before published, filmed live on Saipan with the eyewitnesses themselves.  We have old eyewitness testimony, shot by filmmaker Mike Harris when he was here in the 1980's at the start of this story.  We have eyewitness testimony, some on camera, some on paper of US soldiers who claim they saw Earhart's Electra on Aslito airfield.  We have new eyewitnesses to that effect, that have never been published or interviewed before.
Hydraulic Fluid Level Indicator
What they claimed was fairly simple, if not puzzling.  They claim they found her plane intact in a hangar on the field on or about June 19th, 1944. They claim the plane was guarded by US Marines, and then after a couple of weeks, the Electra was flown around the airfield, near Naftan point.  Then they further claim that the plane was taken out on the runway, covered with gas, and torched by US forces. We have various eyewitnesses to this event, two on camera who tell their story from two different points of view, and a number of others in print who describe watching the plane burn.  We aren't looking for the why of these events, even though we are aware how startling they are.  We are focused on "then what?"

So what happened to the plane after it burned?

And does aluminum burn along with other plane parts?
Electra in a museum in Tucson, Arizona
And how to differentiate from the many other planes that were destroyed on Aslito airfield, including Japanese zeroes (made from an aluminum alloy) and the many US planes that burned or crashed there?

Our premise is this; the Electra was made of an unusual alloy of aluminum.  Each part of the plane was identified, or stamped, and x-rayed in Burbank after it was repaired from her first mission.  If there is a plane part to be found, it would not be rusted, it would not be filled with moss (as the lesser aluminum alloy of Zeroes are) and it would be identifiable by the part number stamped on it or from its x-ray image.
Under the Electra during her Last Flight
We're only looking for one piece.

However, the airfield is large - and what we need to do is use various different pieces of equipment that can differentiate between ferrous material and aluminum. We are focusing on areas where eyewitnesses claim they saw the plane burned. By that process of elimination we are hoping to find one piece of the Electra.

Again, we aren't making up the story that the plane burned at Aslito. We are following the eyewitness reports of over a dozen US Marines who claim to have seen it there, seen it fly, or seen it burned.  Its possible that in the subsequent years, every piece of the plane was dug up and used as scrap metal.  It's possible that the plane was removed entirely from the field.  But that's not likely - as we know it was destroyed on the runway, and the standard operating procedure is still the same for burning planes - to push it off the runway and bury it.
Double rivets on the engine. The propellers were unique as well.
Needless to say there's a number of options for where the plane is buried.  And we're going through them one by one.

Rivets on a piece of aluminum from a plane found near the field
On the eyewitness front, we have a new eyewitness who corroborates the story of Jack Salas, who claims that in 1944 he saw the American woman flyer in the back of a Japanese army truck, her arms bound and wearing a black bandana.  This new witness has come forward only because of our reporting what Jack Salas said - because he also was there in Chalan Kanoa and saw the very same truck, identifying her as Amelia Earhart.  He too said it appeared as if the Japanese were showing their prisoners off to the islanders for some reason.  He too said it was a big event to see the first caucasian woman ever - dressed not like a woman, but like a man.  Not something ever seen on Saipan, not something anyone might forget, despite the years since seeing her on that truck.

Jack Salas's story  of seeing Earhart for 30 minutes on the back of a truck
corroborated by another Saipanese islander yesterday
Also on the eyewitness front, we've been granted an interview with the woman who was the very first person to report seeing Amelia Earhart on Saipan.  We are going to interview her in her home in a couple of weeks, and she has more of her story to impart.  Merely from a historic perspective, no one has taken the time to put this woman on camera to hear her story first hand.  And it's been 70 years since she first told it.  Don't you think its about time to hear her in her own words?

We do.

Thanks for tuning in....

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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.