The question of what happened to pilot Amelia Earhart when she disappeared while flying over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 has long remained a mystery. But a box of photos recently uncovered in the archives of a New Zealand museum could hold the answer. Some researchers believe Earhart and her navigator did not crash into the ocean, but rather landed on the southwestern Pacific island of Nikumaroro, possibly living as castaways until they died. Now a museum worker has found contact sheets and negatives for 45 photos of the island taken in 1938 in an unmarked box; researchers are excited to see what they reveal, Discovery reports.
"For 25 years we have struggled to tease details from a handful of printed photos. Now we have an amazing array of detailed aerial images of every part of the atoll taken before the first colonists, or even the New Zealand Survey party, set foot on the island," says the executive director of the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery. The same group recently released sonar images that show an "anomaly" just off the island that they believe might be Earhart's plane, with features consistent with her Lockheed Electra craft.