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Amelia Earhart Claimed Landing at Mili Atoll

Eyewitnesses saw a plane unexpectedly land on an atoll in the Marshall Islands during July of 1937. The country issued postage stamps, in 1987, to commemorate that event and its aftermath.

In one of the scenes, two individuals are about to enter a yellow life raft. That scene is based on the following report from two eyewitnesses.

Jororo Alibar and his friend were teenagers in July of 1937, living in the Marshall Islands. They were interviewed years later by Vincent Loomis, a former U.S. Air Force C-47 pilot, for his 1985 book Amelia Earhart: The Final Story. The boys had an interesting tale about what they’d seen one summer day while fishing near Mili Atoll.

A few years before WWII, when Japan was already controlling the Marshall Islands, Jororo and his friend saw a plane land on a reef about 200 feet offshore Barre Island. Two people got out of the plane. The boys thought they were both men.

They saw the two people, from the plane, working with a “yellow boat which grew.” In that “yellow boat,” they paddled to shore.

Loomis writes:

Jororo and Lijon, only teenagers, were frightened, crouching in the tiriki, the dense undergrowth, not quite knowing what to do.

Some Japanese men arrived soon after. They questioned the two people, then slapped them. When one of the flyers screamed, the boys realized that she was a woman.

The boys remained hidden, watching in silence, since “they knew the Japanese would have killed them for what they had witnessed.”

This eyewitness account has never been a part of the official investigations into Amelia Earhart's disappearance. The official account, from the U.S. government, remains that Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, ran out of fuel and were lost somewhere in the Pacific near Howland Island. 


Media Credits

Marshall Island commemorative stamps from 1987, marking the 50th anniversary of Earhart and Noonan's reported landing at Mili Atoll. Public domain.

 

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