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...

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National Geographic finally weighs in on Dick Spink's discovery

Finally! National Geographic on the right flight path. We spoke with the author of this article extensively back in November of 2014, and then most recently when they had the meeting he's reporting. For all intents and purposes (according to our NTSB expert) Amelia Earhart's Electra has been found... at least where it came down... and now, we'll just have to show everyone where it's buried. 
 http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/05/150528-amelia-earhart-spink-marshall-islands-aviation/

Important to note; we are not interested in who or what or why or how these events occurred.  We are not interested in talking about the theories of how she wound up on Mili Atoll.

We are passionate about finding out the truth of what happened to Amelia Earhart to honor her sacrifice for the nation.  And that is, at its core, what happened to her.  

She made an incredible landing on an atoll, not something many pilots could do.  Why was she so far off course? We don't know.  We can guess that it's because she wasn't "over" Howland when she radioed she was - in fact she was 250 miles north west of the Howland.  

But we don't know that for a fact. But we do know that she came down in Mili Atoll.

We do know she was picked up by the Japanese and transported to Saipan. That her plane and Fred Noonan went with her. 

We do know that the plane was put in a hangar on Aslito airfield. That's where it was found in June of 44. We do know that she was incarcerated and died on Saipan.

There are multiple reports about how she died. But how she died doesn't reflect on how she lived.  She lived with courage, and because of who she was - an American pilot flying in the wrong part of the Pacific - she wound up in Japanese hands.

We don't know how much she suffered, or if she suffered. We do know that people in the US knew she was there. We do know that US Marines were asked to look for her. We do know that her briefcase was found, and then her plane.

And the Electra was destroyed by US forces not long after that.  We have multiple eyewitnesses, both islanders and US Marines.  

The results of these tests will be at the end of July, early August. And that will not be the end of the story of what happened to her - it will be the beginning of the end of the story.  She deserves closure, and we are determined to help her achieve it.  Read the article below, from the National Geographic website, written by David Lande:


"One Man’s Dogged Search for Amelia Earhart"

One Man’s Dogged Search for Amelia Earhart
Teacher has spent $50K trying to prove the aviator didn’t crash into the Pacific -- and instead landed on a tiny island.


Picture of Amelia Earhart standing in front of the Lockheed Electra plane

Internationally famous as a trouser-clad, tousle-haired, female flier, Amelia Earhart stands in front of the Lockheed Electra she hoped to fly around the world. With only 7,000 miles to go on the 29,000-mile journey, she and navigator Fred Noonan took off from Lae, New Guinea, on July 2, 1937, and disappeared over a vast stretch of the Pacific Ocean. 
PHOTOGRAPH BY SSPL, GETTY

By David Lande, National Geographic 
PUBLISHED MAY 28, 2015
5
At a gathering of researchers near Seattle, a piece of Amelia Earhart’s plane is reverently passed hand-to-hand around a conference table. The authenticity of the artifact is undisputed—a rarity in the contentious world of Earhart aficionados. It was removed from Earhart’s Lockheed Electra during a repair job in the spring of 1937, and a forward-thinking mechanic rescued it from a trash bin. Just a few months later, Earhart and her Electra would be lost in an attempted round-the-world flight.


What happened to Amelia Earhart? Depends on whom you ask. Some say it’s obvious: She ran out of gas over a vast stretch of the Pacific, splashed into the water, and vanished. Others say she landed and eventually died on an island now called Nikumaroro, some 350 miles (563 kilometers) south of her intended refueling stop on Howland Island.

But a 53-year-old high school science teacher from Washington State named Dick Spink believes a different theory: Her plane set down in the Marshall Islands, far off course, on a tiny atoll named Mili.


Picture of a scrap of metal from the Lockheed Electra plane

After sustaining heavy damage in a failed takeoff attempt from Hawaii, Earhart’s Lockheed was repaired in California in the spring of 1937. A mechanic saved this original section of aluminum skin from the airplane’s horizontal stabilizer. 
(Photo by Richard Martini)

“The world needs to know this,” Spink says. “I heard a consistent story from too many people in the Marshalls to dismiss it. They say, ‘She landed at Mili. Our uncles and aunts, our parents, and our grandparents know she landed here.’ ”

The Marshallese accounts were so convincing that Spink has spent $50,000 of his own money searching for the spot where Earhart landed. He contends that the islanders’ stories will be borne out by scientific proof.

Which is why these eight researchers—including engineers, metallurgists, and aircraft technicians—are gathered around a conference table and joined via teleconference by two scientists from Alcoa, original supplier of the aluminum used in Earhart’s plane.

After examining the authentic piece, the group passes around a half-dozen other parts—jagged, weathered, and corroded aluminum sealed in bags like evidence from a crime scene. Some are still encrusted with sand and bits of coral from the Marshalls, where they were found recently. One still has a hint of reddish paint—perhaps a faded match to the reddish-orange trim of Earhart’s plane.



Picture of Mili Atoll in the Marshall Islands
Some researchers believe crescent-shaped Mili Atoll in the Marshall Islands is where Amelia Earhart landed in desperation after failing to locate her intended fuel stop at Howland Island, some 800 miles to the southeast. 


Putting the pieces together

Dick Spink isn’t the originator of the Marshall Islands theory. It first came to global attention during the 1960s with the publication of Paul Briand’s book Daughter of the Sky, as well as CBS correspondent Fred Goerner’s The Search for Amelia Earhart. (The fascination with Earhart continues; a crew trying to fly a solar-powered plane around the world is planning to embark on what it calls the “Earhart leg” of its trip, across the unforgiving Pacific.)

Goerner’s book—a bible of sorts to many Marshall Islands believers—argues that Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan were taken prisoner by the Japanese after landing in the Marshalls and transported by ship to Saipan, where they died in captivity.

Spink counts himself among Goerner’s disciples, but he didn’t come to faith by reading his book. In fact, he hadn’t read anything about Earhart when he first traveled to the Marshall Islands for a sideline business venture. “I just assumed everyone believed that she disappeared when she sank in the ocean,” he says.

Then, three years ago, Spink was having dinner with Marshallese friends when he asked an innocent question: “Didn’t Amelia Earhart disappear in this part of the world?” A local man answered: “Yes, she landed on our island, and my uncle watched her for two days.”

Dick Spink, Jim Hayton, Rich Martini, Mike Harris


Spink’s first reaction was to laugh, but he stopped abruptly when he realized the man wasn’t joking. After that, wherever he traveled in the Marshalls, he kept hearing the same story. “So many people said the same thing,” he says. “It’s become part of Marshallese history and culture.”

What began as serendipity became a pursuit for Spink. He interviewed dozens of Marshallese natives, pressing for specifics until he pinpointed a stretch of rough coral shore where two fishermen had claimed they saw Earhart land. Her plane, losing parts as it bounced over the coral, was later dragged to a Japanese transport ship.

Spink has never solicited financial help for his pursuits. But through connections with a company called Parker Aerospace, his quest received a major boost. This year Parker funded an expedition that brought sophisticated equipment to bear on the search area in the Marshalls.

Parker manufactured fittings for the fuel systems of nearly all aircraft made in the 1920s and 30s, including Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis and Earhart’s Electra.

Jon Jeffery, a Parker representative who accompanied Spink on the January expedition, says, “When we found that our company had made parts for Earhart’s Electra, that got Parker management excited, and they made the decision to invest in the project.”

Photo: Purdue University



Too Many Miles, Too Little Fuel?
Others haven’t been so supportive. Many Earhart enthusiasts dismiss the Marshalls theory as outlandish. Elgen Long, a retired pilot who spent decades researching Earhart’s disappearance, believes in the splashed-and-sank theory.

“The plane would’ve had to float a long way” to reach the Marshall Islands, quips Long. For him, the answer to the mystery rests under 17,000 feet of ocean.

(BLOG AUTHOR NOTE: Elgen Long told me he'd be "glad if it's true" when I spoke to him just prior to flying up to meet Dick Spink and to examine the piece.  What Elgen Long said, along with the man who owns the original piece of the Electra said, was that the expedition to Nikumaroro to find her plane was "not real." (They both used stronger language, but I'd prefer to let them speak for themselves on the topic. )


Fred Patterson, a World Airways pilot for 25 years who also owned two Electras, shares Long’s opinion. “There’s just no way she made it to the Marshall Islands,” he says. “I’ve done some long-range flying in that airplane myself, and I know exactly what it burns per hour.”

Patterson, Long, and many others in their camp argue that radio transmissions place Earhart near her intended destination of Howland Island when she uttered “gas is running low.” The distance from Howland to Mili Atoll is 800 miles—nearly four and a half hours away at the Electra’s cruising speed.

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) argues that Earhart landed on Nikumaroro Island, closer to Howland. (For more on this theory, see http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/11/141104-amelia-earhart-forensic-photo-spectral-imaging-analysis/)

Both Alcoa and Parker are analyzing the pieces recovered from the Marshall Islands to determine whether the metal and paint match Earhart’s plane.

For his part, Spink remains confident that he’s on the right path—guided, it seems, by the ill-fated aviatrix herself.


“So many weird things have happened,” he says. “I feel like the key to the Earhart mystery has just been handed to me. It’s kind of creepy, almost as if Amelia is saying, ‘Here, go with this.’ ”



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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.