Amelia Earhart was a world famous pilot, most notably known for being the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. The aviation pioneer broke numerous world records, which earned her notoriety across the globe. But during an attempt to circumnavigate the globe in 1937, Amelia and her navigator Fred Noonan vanished without a trace. Despite numerous attempts to find her from the US Navy and international outcry, she was never found. The mystery surrounding their whereabouts and details of her final days have baffled scholars and explorers for years. Numerous theories have since emerged including one about them being eaten by giant crabs, dying as prisoners of war and even faking their deaths to become US spies. In the eight decades since her disappearance many claims have been made but some are yet to be substantiated with evidence. But one expert claims to have concluded what happened to Ms Earhart and Mr Noonan, backing it up with evidence that he shared with Express.co.uk. His team state they know not only where they died but also know the details of her gruesome demise.
Historian Richard Gillespie and his team The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) believe they have solved the mystery once and for all.
Based on the evidence they discovered and extensive research, he claimed there was a “better than 99 percent” chance that he knows where Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan died.
He believes their final days were spent on Garner Island, now known as Nikumaroro, after they struggled to find tiny Howland Island amidst the vast Pacific Ocean.
Mr Gillespie suggests that she was forced to land on Nikumaroro due to her Lockheed Electra plane running dangerously low on fuel.
There he believes the pioneering pair could have caught fish and boiled water using the items they travelled – before suffering brutal deaths.
Mr Gillespie claimed to have found the remnants of a knife, which was listed on the inventory list during their journey – as well other items indicative of an American woman of the 1930s having been on the deserted island.
He also believed fragments of broken glass that they found there could point to Ms Earhart’s presence after they pieced it back together and concluded it was from a popular anti-freckle cream of the time.
It was well-documented that she did not like her freckles and could have used ‘Dr C H Berry’s Freckle Ointment’ – a thick paste – in a bid to hide them.
Mr Gillespie told Express.co.uk: “It would have worked as it was 80 percent mercury – it was so potent that the mercury had impregnated onto the glass, which is how we know what it was.”
He believes that Ms Earhart and Mr Noonan could have survived on Nikumaroro for a short while with basic hunting skills and the natural resources available on the island – but soon they would have faced a big threat.
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Mr Gillespie disputed the popularised theory that the pair were killed by giant coconut crabs, which can grow up to three foot length, from leg to leg, and weigh just over half a stone (9lb).
Instead, he claims the greater threat would have come from tiny crabs, around the “size of a baseball”, that are known to have a hunger for any type of flesh.
He told Express.co.uk: “Coconut crabs are not aggressive and are really quite shy, the ones she would have to worry about are the strawberry hermit crab.
“There are thousands of them, they climb trees and were all over the place when we were investigating the site.
“As soon as we took a lunch break and opened the cooler, they could smell the food and came out of the woods by the hundreds.
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“If you lie down to rest, take a nap or do not appear to be moving, they will just take a pinch out of you.
“Amelia Earhart could have became so debilitated that couldn’t move,
“She could have been lying there, not dead but too exhausted to move, and have been eaten alive by these little b******s.”
Mr Gillespie and the TIGHAR team conducted an experiment to see how long it would take for strawberry hermit crabs to decompose a body through stripping all flesh from the bone.
He told Express.co.uk: “We got a pig carcass, often used for experiments like that, and it took 12 days.
“In that time, they reduced this thing to a skeleton and dragged away many of the bones.
“It’s a scary thing to watch, hundreds and hundreds swarming over this.”
They also claim that the military found Amelia Earhart’s skeleton decades ago and the information was suppressed.
Mr Gillespie accused a British representative on a nearby island of hiding the discovery and it then being locked away in British archives for decades.
TIGHAR is non-profit organisation that specialises in solving the mysteries behind historic aircraft disappearances.
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