People all around the world reported hearing radio distress calls from Amelia Earhart in July 1937, and many of them were dismissed as hoaxes. But a research group has just published a comprehensive study of all distress calls in the days after Earhart disappeared and concludes that 57 of them are legit in regard to the famous aviator, reports USA Today. The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, or TIGHAR, says the calls prove its theory that Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan survived for at least a week or so after crashing on a remote Pacific island. Based on the timing of the calls, the researchers say that Earhart returned to the disabled plane only at low tide to send her pleas for help, as those were the only times she could run the engine without the risk of flooding it.
"Waters high," "water’s knee deep," and "help us quick" were among the snippets heard by a teen in Florida, per the Washington Post. "Plane down on uncharted island," heard a woman in Texas. TIGHAR says the calls disprove the Navy's long-held conclusion that Earhart's plane crashed in the ocean and sank immediately. So how did people so far away hear messages from Earhart's radio? TIGHAR chalks it up to "harmonic frequencies" that "'skip' off the ionosphere and can carry great distances," per the Post. Perhaps the most harrowing of the calls deemed legit is the final one: "Can you read me? This is Amelia Earhart. ... Please come in," a woman in Canada reported hearing on July 7, five days after Earhart's plane disappeared. "We have taken in water, my navigator is badly hurt. ... We can’t hold on much longer." (Catch up on all the various Earhart theories here.)