Did Amelia Earhart survive her plane crash? This is the most likely theory, with evidence emerging that she was making contact for days after her plane disappeared.
The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) believes Earhart safely landed her plane when it disappeared in 1937 and died as a castaway.
During a presentation in the US last month, TIGHAR’s Ric Gillespie backed up all of the group’s theories.
Earhart’s plane was last seen on radar on July 2, 1937.
After becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, she embarked on a mission to fly over 29,000 miles around the world.
But on July 2, 1937, four months after beginning her trip, she found herself in trouble.
She was flying at 1,230 feet looking for Howland Island, southwest of Honolulu, but was low on fuel.
It is believed she was not as close to the island as expected, so she safely landed on another island, believed to be Nikumaroro, also known as Gardner Island, which is surrounded by a reef and about 400 miles southeast of Howland Island.
Gillespie said that from the time the plane vanished off radar on July 2 to July 6, there were more than 100 radio transmissions from Earhart calling for help.
A woman in Melbourne even picked up her frequency.
“People started hearing radio distress calls from the airplane and they were verified,” Gillespie said.
About six hours after she went missing, a very weak and unreadable voice was picked up by credible radio operators. They recognized her voice.
A housewife in Texas listening on a short-wave radio a short time later also heard Earhart’s pleas. She heard the plane had landed part in water and part on land.
Gillespie said Earhart told radio operators she was injured, but not as badly as her navigator, Fred Noonan.
“She’s out there calling for help,” Gillespie said.
He believes Earhart landed safely with some fuel left in the tank, because she wouldn’t have been able to work the radio without the engine running.