A recently surfaced photo suggests that the legendary aviator Amelia Earheart and her navigator survived their mysterious plane disappearance, 80 years ago. Earheart and her co-pilot Fred Noonan took off on July 2, 1937, leading their way to Howland Island, 2,556 miles away. According to history, the pair encountered overcast skies and rain showers, despite weather forecasts that predicted the clear weather.

Earhart was last heard from on July 2, 1937, as she attempted to become the first woman pilot to circumnavigate the globe.

Amelia Earheart may have survived crash-landing

In one of the files found in National Archives, a photo shows a woman who resembles Amelia Earheart and a man who appears to be her co-pilot, Fred Noonan. The photograph was featured in a special History channel documenting, “Amelia Heart: The Lost Evidence,” that airs every Sunday.

The photo is believed to have been taken by a spy who was later executed in Japan. Experts believe that the two aviators were imprisoned there, where Noonan was executed and Earheart died. According to Japan’s Foreign Ministry and National Archives, they have no documents of Earheart being in their custody. However, many records from that time were destroyed during or after World War II.

Before the discovery of the photo, there was a theory that the Japanese military could be responsible for the disappearance of the two pilots. It is now then for the first time in the documentary that suddenly makes the theory more plausible.

Alive under Japanese custody

The recently discovered photo shows a Caucasian man and woman, on the dock and captured by the Japanese.

According to investigators, the photo dates to 1937. Using facial recognition, investigators say that it is likely that the man standing on the left of the photo is Fred Noonan and the woman sitting is Amelia Earheart. Historians compared Noonan's teeth and nose to make the determination of the man in the photo. On the other hand, experts determined Earheart's torso's size to compare her with the supposed woman.

According to the report of The Today Show, local residents at that time confirmed that they saw the plane crash and a Japanese ship picked up Earheart and Noonan and the plane. Independent analyst Shawn Henry told in an interview with History that the photo is legitimate and undoctored.

According to a retired government investigator who has spent more than ten years of investigating the whereabouts of Earheart said that the photo "clearly indicates that Earhart was captured by the Japanese."