1. As the History Channel show reported, Earhart's Electra encountered a storm near Howland that pushed the Electra off course and NW of Howland. (As noted on this blog, I was invited to participate in the show, was part of the sizzle reel used to sell the show to History Channel. But because I have my own projects, I deferred from participating. However, the show was accurate as to the research I've seen. The photograph and the evidence of why and how she turned to the Gilberts was new to me.) When Amelia turned to "fly to the Gilberts" as the show reported - the first island she came upon was not in the Gilberts - it was Endriken Isle in Mili.
|Endriken Island - at high tide. Low tide you could "land a 747" according|
to one researcher who's been there.
First of all, a number of people saw her plane land. The Queen of Mili Atoll was interviewed in Oliver Knagg's book "Amelia Earhart: Her Last Flight." I interviewed the cameraman who filmed that footage of his trip to the Marshalls. He confirmed the details that are in his book (and that the footage is in legal limbo but exists)
|Pretty soon, it's going to be swamped. Google Earth|
|Oliver Knaggs on Saipan 1983|
Looking at a cell before the metal bars removed.
On a recent trip to the Marshalls, Mike Harris, Les Kinney and Dick Spink all heard from islanders that claimed the Japanese had asked them to take her plane off of Mili atoll.
Dick Spink spoke directly to islanders whose parents were fishing at the same fishing hole that exists to this day. They brought a Japanese barge into the harbor, dragged the plane across the island, and put it aboard the Japanese barge.
Dick Spink found a number of pieces of the plane from his six trips to search the island. He found a red painted piece of a cap, he found a piece of metal that could only fit her plane, and on their recent excursion, Les Kinney found a piece of rolled aluminum that could have come from her plane.
I interviewed a retired NTSB official who showed me how the piece from her plane fit the exact same wheel - and in his professional opinion "the plane part could only come from her Electra." That's not any opinion. That's a professional opinion of an NTSB investigator Jim Hayton who has testified before Congress.
|Dick Spink, former NTSB investigator Jim Hayton, myself |
and Mike Harris at Dick Spink's table, looking over the plane parts
and his extensive research. Photo copyright Dick Spink
So the History Channel episode only showed 1 piece from her plane. According to the NTSB expert I interviewed on camera, there is at least one other part for certain, and a smaller piece that could have come from her plane - in his professional opinion.
The fact that no other plane parts from any other plane have been found in or near the island is also key.
|NTSB Investigator Jim Hayton showing how this dust shield fit on the identical wheel rim,|
unique to only this version of the Electra. It fit perfectly.
Photo Copyright Richard Martini 2014
|The dust shield from the 1937 Electra manual. It describes the exact same|
piece that Spink found. Copyright Richard Martini
|Piece of a plane with red trim found on Mili atoll.|
Comparing it to an actual piece of AE's Electra. Copyright Richard Martini.
|Note the color red above - Not the same color to the eye|
but analysis was inconclusive that it was the same paint.
Could have been. But not definitively. Copyright Richard Martini.
2. The plane was first taken to Majuro, where a stevedore claims he first brought the Electra. It was then taken, along with Amelia and Fred to Jaluit. (And from there she and Fred and the plane were taken to Saipan.)
|Navy Vet Andrew Bryce, from Denver,|
said he worked with a stevedore on Majuro who claimed he
moved the plane from Mili to a Japanese barge to Majuro. Photo Copyright Richard Martini
|Footage Copyright Mike Harris|
Oscar de Brum, former Congressman from the Marshalls, who has testified before Congress, tells us in the clip at the end of this post, that he was there when his father took him to the dock and showed him the plane on back of the ship. He remembers the moment clearly. (Footage shot by Mike Harris in the Marshalls in 1980.)
|Copyright Mike Harris|
Bilimon Amaron was taken aboard the ship and tended to her and Fred's wounds. His testimony was repeated in other places, both on camera and in print. His reputation is beyond reproach - as his business partner of 40 years claims in his clip below.
|Jaluit docks in the office of Naval Intelligence file.|
Photograph demonstrates illegal fortification of the harbor
by the Japanese govt. contrary to their league of nations treaty.
They left the league in 1935, the dock was built in 1936
The photograph from the History channel shows a number of people on a dock in 1937. Photographic experts claim that the photo of Fred is a match.
The naked eye, looking at the back of the woman crouching on the deck - looks like Amelia's shoulders and back. Having access to over 5000 photographs of her, and 30 hours of archival footage, I can say that I instantly spotted it when I saw the photograph.
|Copyright Mike Harris.|
|Copyright Mike Harris|
So a number of people claim to have seen Amelia and Fred and the Electra at Jaluit docks in 1937. The photograph appears to corroborate their testimony - but it doesn't need to. (Unless you inherently don't believe what islanders have to say.)
3. At least two people on camera claim they saw her, or their parent saw her come ashore on Saipan. Josephine Blanco Akiyama, and a former Congressman from Saipan tell the same story - one who lives on Saipan, one who has lived near SF for 40 years - that of the two prisoners being led ashore and everyone told to "lower their eyes." Clearly Josephone and the Congressman's father did not,and repeated their stories. (see the clip below where his father describes the same story that Josephine reports)
|Ray's mom treated her in the hospital. Copyright Richard Martini|
She was buried and her body was dug up by two GI's. Those GIs have been interviewed by a number of people, but in the Chicago Tribune in 1977, (UPI, January) they claimed they only partially recovered her body ("an arm and a partial ribcage").
|Her briefcase. Same case described by|
two GIs who did not know each other.
This is her packing it for the last flight.
Robert told me on camera that he was surprised, and kept the briefcase for two weeks before turning it over to the 82nd's Louis Wallace. Wallace's assistant, Earskin Nabors cataloged the briefcase, and described it to me in an interview - the same case.
Both men described the briefcase to me - both had never seen a photograph of it. Their independent versions described the EXACT SAME BRIEFCASE.
|Josephine saw her come up the docks in 1937. Photo copyright Richard Martini|
|Here's Josephine in 1937 with the Doctor with|
whom she shared her story. It was he who directed
authorities to interview Josephine at the time. From her own book. Copyright Josephine Blanco
|EJ Nabers, Copyright Richard Martini|
He decoded the message in triplicate which Wallace had to sign. (Nabers said he was "surprised" by his commanding officers lack of reaction.)
Wallace ordered Nabers to "guard the plane" which he did for 24 hours. While guarding the plane, some "navy brass" came to see the plane and loudly declared "we know you have Earhart's airplane in there, we want to see it."
Nabers refused their entry, to the point of drawing his service weapon.
"Orders is orders" he told me he said.
|My friend Bob, who found her briefcase and held onto it for 2 weeks.|
He turned it over to Nabor's CO. Copyright Richard Martini
Nabers went on to say that he turned the briefcase over to a Navy man from ONI (whom I have been able to identify) and later, decoded a message they were going to fly the Electra.
|Her initial cell, yards from where Fred Noonan|
was reportedly kept. Copyright Richard Martini
|Exterior of the cell Copyright Richard Martini|
|Aslito had a number of intact hangars when it was liberated|
on June 19, 1944
Doug Bryce described the hangar to me in detail, and I was able to locate it precisely on the airfield, which matches photographs from the era. It was one of the few hangars left intact. Other people have said they saw the plane in the same hangar (including Nabers, who guarded it for 24 hours.)
|Some of the wreckage on Alisito - but the Electra|
was not only intact, but flyable.
Finally, Nabers reports that he decoded a message that said they were going to destroy the plane. He and other soldiers went out to watch this occur - I've stood in the spot where they witnesses the burning of her plane. He gave me the names of the other fellows who went with them. He said at some point he realized "they shouldn't be there" but stayed to watch as the Electra was destroyed.
A number of veterans saw the plane "on fire," reported that detail in Tom Devine's books - but Tom himself claims that he heard the explosion, and went down to the field - and the same plane he had seen close up only days before had been set afire. (see his clip in the footage below)
|As Doug Bryce said in his interview "We all knew what|
her plane looked like. It was the most famous plane
on the planet and had disappeared 7 years earlier."
Here they are discussing it on my camera:
That still doesn't mean the photograph is incorrect, or that it does not depict Fred Noonan, Amelia Earhart and the Electra on the back of a barge in 1937. All it's doing is giving confirmation of the above eyewitness stories.
Not conflicting. Not contrary. Some are by Caucasians for those who can only hear what Caucasians say - and some are from native islanders - for those who actually want to hear what they said or saw without the filter of a Caucasian point of view.
As noted earlier - an investigator has further documents that he's going to publish when he finishes his book. Being meticulous, he says he does not want to release his evidence without proof where his documents came from and how they got there. I cannot reveal what's in them, only report I've been told that they confirm that everything in the above reports is accurate. -- That she came down in Mili, that the US intercepted and decoded that fact, but that they could not reveal they knew she had been arrested by the Japanese because it would prove they had broken their codes. And like Churchill and the Enigma machine revelations - "lives were sacrificed" for that intelligence.
In this case, the lives of Fred Noonan and Amelia Earhart.
Again, I don't know why these stories make people upset nor am I interested in arguing about it. These are simply eyewitness reports of what people saw. They are consistent. They can be corroborated.
There are no other islanders on any other island who've told any other story like them. If they were being made up - wouldn't someone have come up with some alternate story?
These people's stories have been told without any promise of money, fame or other motivation. They just wanted to speak the truth about something they witnessed, or their family member told them. In the case of one interviewee, he said "I don't care what happens to me for telling this story, but I wanted to speak the truth." Obviously this Saipan local had been threatened in the past or feared for what he said about Earhart. Why or by whom, I don't know. I was startled to hear him say it on camera.
Some were ridiculed for years by others who are/were convinced their version is correct. But none of those dissenting people - the debunkers - have ever met or interviewed a single eyewitness to corroborate their claims or denials. That's telling in and of itself.
Finally - I'm not interested in arguing about why these people took the time to speak to me on camera about something they witnesses, saw or heard - because it's clear to me why they've done so and should be to anyone with open eyes.
Here are excerpts of the above interviews: