The History Channel is about to add a breakthrough development to the mystery surrounding Amelia Earhart’s disappearance. The upcoming documentary “Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence,” which premieres on Sunday, July 9, includes photo evidence suggesting Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan survived the plane crash and became Japanese prisoners of war. The photo can be seen by heading to PEOPLE.
Former FBI executive assistant director Shawn Henry is behind the documentary, which attempts to finally answer what happened to Earhart and Noonan after their plane went down in the Pacific Ocean on July 2, 1937. The photo was discovered by former U.S. Treasury Agent Les Kinney in 2012 and is revealed for the first time in the documentary.
The image shows Earhart and Noonan on a dock, with the duo’s Lockheed airplane aboard a ship. The photo would confirm a popular theory stating Earhart and Noonan survived the crash and were held prisoner by the Japanese on the island of Saipan, where they both eventually died.
“This absolutely changes history,” says Henry. He suggests the Japanese believed Earhart and Noonan were American spies and took them in as prisoners.
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The photo was discovered in what was once a top secret file in the National Archives. Independent analysts have told History the photo appears to be legitimate.
“When you pull out, and when you see the analysis that’s been done, I think it leaves no doubt to the viewers that that’s Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan,” Henry told NBC News.
“Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence” debuts this Sunday at 9pm on the History Channel.