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The Mystery of Amelia Earhart Might Have Just Been Solved

The aviator who disappeared 80 years ago might have survived her plane crash after all.

What seemed to be a mystery lost to time might just get some closure after all. The disappearance of Amelia Earhart during her attempt at a flight around the world in 1937 has captured imaginations in the decades since, but new evidence in the form of an old photograph could shed some light on what happened to her.

The photograph is one of the key pieces of evidence that will be featured Sunday in Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence on the History Channel. The photograph, possibly taken by a spy in Japan in 1937 (after her July disappearance) shows Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan. Analysts have also deduced that the Japanese ship in the background of the photo is towing a barge large enough to carry Earhart’s plane. The photograph is said to have been taken by a United States spy in Japan, which could explain why the photo has been kept secret until now. But, someone has fished it out of the National Archives, and now it’s ready for the light of day.

The documentary will posit that Earhart crashed near Japan and was captured and ultimately imprisoned somewhere in the Mariana Islands. The producers draw on plenty of circumstantial evidence, too — people living in nearby communities who say they remember stories of a female pilot who was captured, and some who even say they saw the crash.

Granted, this all comes with a big caveat — ever since Ancient Aliens, the History Channel isn’t exactly known for trustworthiness. If this was the History Channel of the 1990s, I might buy in sight unseen. Today, I’m going to need to see a little bit more to be sold on the prospect of one of history’s greatest mysteries getting solved.

Header image: National Archives

Via NBC News