Amelia Earhart may have survived a crash landing during her infamous round-the-world trip in which she disappeared, a new photo shows.
Earhart’s disappearance in the Pacific Ocean on July 2, 1937, along with her navigator Fred Noonan, is one of the world’s biggest mysteries.
The photo, from the U.S. National Archives, shows a group of people – including people who look like Earhart and Noonan — on a dock in the Marshall Islands.
The photo will be featured in a new special on the History Channel.
Analysts told NBC News, the photo is undoctored.
“I think it leaves no doubt to the viewers that that’s Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan,” said NBC analyst Shawn Henry, who was also part of the History Channel’s team.
The picture was labelled as “Jaluit Atoll,” which was an island under Japanese rule at the time, and is believed to be from 1937.
The woman believed to be Earhart is sitting on the dock with her back to the camera, while the man believed to be Noonan is facing it.
While Earhart’s face is not shown, experts say her hair, which resembles Earhart’s distinctive haircut, is too short for a local woman, and too long for a local man.
There’s more evidence for Noonan.
“The hairline is the most distinctive characteristic,” facial recognition expert Ken Gibson told NBC News. “The nose is very prominent.”
“It’s my feeling that this is very convincing evidence that this is probably Noonan.”
The photo also shows a Japanese ship towing something roughly the size of Earhart’s plane.
NBC reports that locals have claimed for years that they saw Earhart’s plane crash, and they saw the Americans taken away by the Japanese.
“I think we proved beyond a reasonable doubt that she survived her flight and was held prisoner by the Japanese on the island of Saipan, where she eventually died,” Henry said.
But Dorothy Cochrane, curator for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Aeronautics Department, isn’t convinced.
She told People Magazine that she’s never seen “definitive evidence” that Earhart survived her final flight.
The new photo has its own critics, though. TIGHAR owner, Ric Gillespie, weighed on the photo to TMZ and said that that is not Earhart in the picture. TIGHAR is an organization involved in looking for her and he claims that the woman in the photo could be anyone.
Gillespie goes on to suggest that Earhart’s last signal was hundreds of miles away from where the photo was taken in Marshall Islands. He also believes the photo doesn’t add up to her history. According to him, none of the captives in the photo have weapons or look threatening.