Bones found on a remote Pacific island are most likely those of the lost aviator Amelia Earhart , according to a new forensic study.
The pilot, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, disappeared over the Pacific in 1937 while attempting to become the first woman to circumnavigate the globe by air.
For decades there have been numerous theories and conspiracies, including that she was captured and held by the Japanese or had survived and gone on to live under a different identity.
But now a new study by a professor at the University of Tennessee, Richard L. Jantz, has concluded that bones found on the island of Nikumaroro three years after her disappearance are those of the missing pilot.
The bones were initially ruled out after a first examination concluded they were male.Read More
- 'Sickening' discovery of 54 HUMAN HANDS sparks mystery - as nobody knows where they came from
But thanks to new techniques Professor Jantz said: “The only documented person to whom they may belong is Amelia Earhart.”
Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1932 and five years later was attempting to fly around the world with navigator Fred Noonan .
At the time of her disappearance the 39-year-old was trying to reach Hawaii before completing her journey to California.
It had previously been accepted that the pair died when their plane crashed close to Howland Island in the central Pacific, in poor visibility and with just 30 minutes of fuel.
In her last radio transmission, Earhart said they could not find the island and their Lockheed Electra L-10E was running out of fuel.
For weeks the area was searched by the US Navy, but the plane was never found and Earhart was legally declared dead in 1939.
In 1940 an exploration party sent by the Phoenix Island Settlement Scheme, which aimed to colonise remote islands, stumbled across bones on Nikumaroro.
A wider search of the area which turned up more bones, part of a woman’s shoe and personal artefacts including a sextant box and a bottle of the herbal liqueur, Benedictine.Read More
- What is a feminist? Girl power quotes, memes and messages from women that show the future is female
The remains were examined by the principal of the Central Medical School, Fiji of the Dr. D. W. Hoodless, who concluded they belonged to a “stocky male” around 5ft 5ins.
As bones have since been lost, Professor Jantz, an expert in forensic, used the bone measurements taken by Hoodless and compared them with what is known of Earhart’s body type.
“If the skeleton were available, it would presumably be a relatively straightforward task to make a positive identification, or a definitive exclusion,” he said.
“Unfortunately, all we have are the meagre data in Hoodless’ report and a pre-mortem record gleaned from photographs and clothing.
“Until definitive evidence is presented that the remains are not those of Amelia Earhart, the most convincing argument is that they are hers.”
Last year a photo was found in a “top secret file” in the US National Archive which led to speculation that Earhart and Noonan had been captured by the Japanese after crash-landing.
Other theories suggest that Earhart had survived her final flight and had gone on to live a secret life under an assumed identity.