The mystery of the disappearance of aviator Amelia Earhart has baffled experts while continuing to capture the attention of world for 81 years. In the summer of 2018, the results of a study were released with evidence confirming that a number of radio transmissions picked up after the disappearance of aviator Amelia Earhart were actual distress signals. This came a year after a History Channel special on a photograph that showed two people who resembled Earhart and Noonan alive on a dock on a Pacific island was discredited. Now, a woman who claims the picture may be wrong but her eyewitness account is true has returned to Saipan, the Mariana Island where she claimed to see Earhart’s plane go down and the pilot and her navigator taken away. While there, she met with another alleged witness who claimed to have seen them being placed in a truck by the Japanese military on Saipan.
“It was in 1937. I was 11 years old when I saw her. I didn’t know her name.”
Earlier this week, The Marianas Variety reported that the Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument Inc. hosted a dinner for Josephine Blanco Akiyama, who lives in the U.S., and Joaquin Salas. Akiyama says she never told anyone what she saw until she was 20. That may be because she didn’t realize the couple might be Earhart and Noonan until World War II ended. She says she saw them at Tanapag Harbor, then a Japanese military area in 1937, and the physical descriptions she gave, albeit from a distance, seem to match the short-haired, pants-wearing Earhart and the tall Noonan.
“I saw a Japanese military truck. They were loading three people — two men and one lady. A Japanese soldier used black ribbons to tie their hands. They parked in front of our house. We were watching them. I don’t know where the Japanese took them.”
Salas says he was also 11 when he saw a truck loading two people who he later determined matched the descriptions of Earhart and Noonan. The truck was in front of his family’s house in the village of Chalan Kanoa, which is on the island’s main road that also runs past the nearby harbor. While Salas saw the couple under military guard, only Akiyama claims to have heard shortly after seeing them that Earhart and Noonan were executed.
Are these testimonies credible? The dinner was put on by the Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument Inc., a group set up in September 2017 by Rep. Donald Barcinas, who hosted the event, to raise money to build a monument to the woman who was claimed to have been seen or heard about by many others on the island and either died or was executed there. At the announcement in 2017 at a meeting of the Rotary Club of Saipan, Barcinas said the memorial would boost Saipan as a Pacific tourist destination.
Is this a case of hearing one more time the testimonies of these two elderly witnesses or a ploy to raise money to help tourism? Are these and other islander accounts real or a sign of the Mandela effect? Unfortunately, there’s no physical evidence whatsoever of Earhart, Noonan or the plane to back up the claims. Let’s hope at least that the food at the dinner was good.
The mystery continues.