Earhart On Saipan - The Facts

Latest updates:

Recently we spoke to a woman in Hawaii whose father claims that he was aware of Amelia's plane coming down in Mili Atoll. We're in the process of getting an interview with this woman in Hawaii.  That will add to the many interviews we obtained while on Saipan.

To watch excerpts of those interviews, please click on the link that takes you to the youtube video "Earhart On Saipan" - to date we have nearly two dozen new eyewitnesses.  People who actually saw her on Saipan, people whose parents saw her on Saipan, people who claim they saw her on a Japanese ship that took her to Saipan, people who claim their parents saw or heard or had some first hand knowledge of her being on Saipan.

Our premised has always been simple.  Ask people what they saw. Compare their stories.  It's not a matter of conjecture, or a matter of wanting her to be alive somewhere - it's just asking human beings what they saw or heard.  People's memories are faulty - people's memories of what someone said to someone else may also be faulty - but when you take the amount of eyewitnesses, and add that to the fact that they've been saying consistently the same thing for the past 50 years, but no one outside of Saipan seems to want to know about it... you're left with the puzzling fact that despite numerous eyewitnesses, no one wants to believe what it is they've said.

That's why we went to Saipan with a camera and filmed them. So they could speak in their own words and not through the filter of an author.  Let their testimony be what it is.  And when you examine the dozens of cases - they all tell the same story.

1. She came down in Mili Atoll.  Numerous island witnesses (including the father of the woman mentioned above from Mili) talked about, heard about her, or saw her landing the Electra on Mili. She and Fred Noonan were arrested by the Japanese occupying that atoll for being spies and put aboard a Japanese ship.

2. That Japanese ship and the Electra were taken to Majuro, then Jaluit, then Truk, then Japan.

3. People who aren't aware that Saipan was part of Japan and was considered homeland since 1914 - don't understand the previous sentence.

4. While in Saipan (part of Japan) she was in a hospital and looked after while they decided what to do with her and Fred. Saipan was the command post for the Japanese navy.

5. The Electra was taken to Aslito airfield and stored in a hangar.

6. She spent the next 7 years in prison. Fred was executed early on.  She was moved to at least two different cells, one tiny, and the one she spent the bulk of her time in larger but no less difficult - thin roof, in a row of cells that could house about a dozen prisoners at any given time, She was seen here, reported to be here by a few villagers (included in the footage above).

7. Many islanders saw her on the island, or heard of her presence there while she was incarcerated.

8. Sometime in early 1944 two US pilots were shot down over Saipan.  They were arrested and put into prison as well.

9. Around May of 1944 she and the two pilots were taken by truck through the island. She (and the pilots) were seen by at least two eyewitnesses (both on camera, in the interviews above)

10. She was executed.  The two pilots were executed as well, and their bodies were exhumed by a tribunal to see if they'd been tortured. (a matter of public record)

11.  Despite numerous locations where islanders claim she was buried (we've cataloged three cemeteries) we have corroborating testimony that she was beheaded and cremated - considered a more humane and religiously honorable death by the Japanese.

12. We've filmed the crematorium where she was reportedly cremated and have an interview with a woman who lived next to the prison whose Japanese grandfather told her the truth about the "American femal pilot."

13. A Japanese veteran told a Saipanese villager in 1995 that he was one of those assigned to behead and cremate her.

14. Her plane was found in June of 1944 by US Marines. (We have 6 eyewitnesses so far). The plane was guarded by US forces until a decision came to destroy it. It was flown once around the airfield. (6 eyewitnesses) It was then taken to the south end of the field and burned. (3 eyewitnesses). Her briefcase was found and given to military intelligence (two eyewitnesses).

15. Her death and the finding of the plane was covered up by the military.  Why is not yet known.  Perhaps to "protect her reputation" as was reported in 1945 to Eleanor Roosevelt (public record), perhaps because she was a "spy" in the vein that Julia Child spied for FDR as a favor - but we have no evidence as to why these details occurred in the fashion they did. To speculate is only that - and we based our research on eyewitness reports.

16. If her plane was destroyed in 1944 as reported, burned on the airfield, because of its unique craftmanship, with a proper survey team (which we have the permits for) the plane, or a piece of it could be found on that airfield.  We are still actively trying to recover a piece of the plane from that field.  There are other artifacts that have been reported; a ring she gave an islander (we've tracked the location to a house leveled by hurricane) her flight jacket, the briefcase, a book of photographs found on Saipan during the war and turned over to Marine intelligence (one eyewitness) or even reports of her passport from the briefcase still in existence.

17.  As a wise person said to us; "it's not important how Amelia Earhart died. It's important how she lived." We are not trying to prove anything to anyone - we are just trying to document the truth of what really happened.  It would be wonderful if her plane was found elsewhere - it would mean that all of these people, the US Marines included, would have been inaccurate, wrong, deluded or making things up.  However, in our humble experience with Marines (team leader Mike Harris is one) we tend to shy away from calling Marines liars.  For our own health and safety.

We made this trip to find out the truth of what happened to Amelia Earhart. We happen to agree that the truth can set people free.  That for whatever reason she was executed for being a spy - whether she was or not a spy, she was executed as one - deserves to be known to honor her memory and her legacy.

These are the facts surrounding Amelia Earhart's final years, final days.  She sacrificed everything - but she is still a beacon for what one person could do, she is still a hero for what she accomplished in her short and amazing life.  And as a spiritual matter, she lives on in our hearts to inspire others around the world as a result of her life story. 
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.



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.