Did Amelia Earhart Survive Her 1937 Crash? This Photo Says It’s Possible

Amelia Earhart is an icon of women’s empowerment for being the first woman to fly alone across the Atlantic Ocean and making many other substantial first forays into the aviation world for women. On an attempted trip around the world in July of 1937, Earhart’s plane disappeared somewhere over the central Pacific Ocean and she, along with her navigator, Fred Noonan, were never heard from again.

According to a new History Channel special, Earhart and Noonan may not have died as the result of a crash into the Pacific Ocean, as the most popular theory of their plane’s disappearance states, BuzzFeed News reports.

The photo appears to have been taken in the Marshall Islands in 1937, during which time the islands were under Japanese control. (The Marshall Islands are a group of islands in the northwestern Pacific Ocean a few thousand miles northeast of Australia.) It was discovered in a long-lost file from the National Archives, and some claim it's the missing piece of the puzzle to explain Earhart's mysterious disappearance.

Zoomed in, two white people appear in the photo, and researchers are speculating that the man and woman are Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan. “When you pull it out and when you see the analysis that’s been done, I think it leaves no doubt to the viewers that that’s Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan,” an investigator told NBC News.

After doing facial recognition and photo comparison work, researchers are confident of the evidence. In the photo, Earhart’s plane, or something with its general shape and resemblance, also seems to be visible in the background, being towed by a large ship.

While we all want a happy ending for Earhart's story, the timing of this seems a little too coincidental—this year will mark the 80th anniversary of her attempted flight around the world.