Final Story: How Amelia Earhart Was Lost And Then Found
Everyone has heard of Amelia Earhart. She was well-known for being an aviation pioneer, but she became even more famous after she mysteriously disappeared on her famous flight around the world. If she had completed it, Earhart would have been the first pilot to fly around the world using an equatorial route (over 29,000 miles). Sadly, just before she reached the last stop in her historic trip, Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared without a trace. Or did they?
One theory of what happened to Earhart and Noonan is that they crash landed on a small atoll in the Pacific Ocean called Nikumaroro. Although no decisive evidence has been found, there are clues that hint that the navigators may have been there, such as skin care products that date back to the 1930s, a pocket knife, and the sole of a shoe. But what if Earhart and Noonan had been on the island? What if they had been found in time and saved? This is the story of Amelia Earhart, lost and then found.
July 2, 1937:
This audio piece is everything that probably happened before the crash. The transmissions heard are the actual transmissions Earhart gave, the last known evidence of Amelia Earhart alive. They are old and hard to hear, so I made these as a substitution for subtitles.
After crashing in the water near the atoll, Earhart and Noonan had to get out of the plane as fast as they could, because it was quickly filling up with water. Earhart, disoriented, looked for Noonan, and found him trying to get free from his seat. His leg was caught in twisted metal, and Earhart struggled to remove it. Water was now up to their shoulders. Noonan begged Earhart to go and leave him behind, but she refused. A minute later, she managed to detach the metal lodged in Noonan’s leg from the rest of the sinking plane. As soon as she did, Noonan pushed through the water pouring in the front window. Earhart quickly grabbed the plane radio and did the same. They both didn’t stop swimming until they reached a thin strip of beach to the east of their crash. They laid there for awhile, catching their breath, too tired to move or think. Some time later, Amelia managed to stand, and looked out at the plane, which was almost fully submerged underwater. Besides her, the radio let out crackling noises of static, broken. “What do I do now?”
July 7, 1937:
Amelia could not get to the food. Noonan had not been able to help with anything, due to his leg, leaving Amelia to do all the work. Their only source of food were coconuts and bananas found from the tops of trees, and she struggled to make it halfway up before her limbs started shaking from the effort. She has no machete; to cut the fruit down, she’s used a small knife she found in the pocket of her bomber jacket. To open a coconut, she’s had to bash the hard shell with a rock until it finally cracked. They’ve had nothing to drink except the liquid in the coconuts. Earhart knew she or Noonan, whose leg was slowly starting to get infected, wouldn’t last much longer like this. She could only hope people were looking for them.
While Earhart and Noonan were fighting to survive, this poster was placed on surfaces everywhere on all the places near Earhart’s destination, including French Polynesia, the Marshall Islands, Hawaii, and Guam. It was shown on major news outlets on tv as well as broadcasted on the radio. Everyone was looking for Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan.
July 12, 1937:
Earhart and Noonan were found 10 days after they crashed in the waters near Nikumaroro. The day after they were found, you could not find a newspaper where the miraculous story of their trials and triumph did not dominate the front page.
May 12, 1947:
Both Amelia and Noonan recovered from that fateful accident. Noonan went on to retire, but Amelia did not let what happened slow her down. About two years after she crashed on Nikumaroro, she did the trip again, this time completing the first tour around the world following an equatorial route. She has since retired from flying, but still holds camps where she gives personal instruction to the next generation of aviators. This is a poster for her next camp.
April 31, 1952:
A movie was made about Earhart’s life and accomplishments. It will come out on July 24, 1952 on Earhart’s 55th birthday, while also celebrating 15 years since she was rescued from Nikumaroro. Here is the trailer for the movie.
January 8, 1981:
Amelia Earhart died one week ago on January 2, 1981. Her life was filled with passion, excitement, innovation, and adventure . She worked well under pressure, and was never one to back down from a challenge. She set an example for a new generation of young girls, showing them that traditional male-dominated jobs, like aviation, were not barred from their future. Earhart aspired for and achieved greatness, and that is what she will always be remembered for.
What Really Happened To Amelia Earhart?
July 2, 1937 was the last time anyone heard from Amelia Earhart. She was 39 years old, and the trip she was on was to be the last one of her career. It is unclear where she and Noonan actually landed that day, and their plane has never been found. Although there were signs of habitation on the little atoll of Nikumaroro in the years after Earhart’s disappearance, none of them can be conclusively pointed back to her and Noonan. We do not know what else Earhart would have accomplished if she had survived her trip around the world, but this story was my creation of what could have been, but unfortunately never was.
Rest In Peace Amelia Earhart (July 24, 1897- July 2, 1937)
Link To Tutorials:
Summary Of The Class:
The bulk of what I learned was definitely in the weeks of audio and video storytelling. I’ve been using Photoshop for years now, but I had never used Audacity or iMovie, and it was fun to learn how to utilize the unique features they offered. I also really enjoyed having to think outside the box for some of the assignments, because while Virginia has pretty much opened back up, I’ve still been quarantining and don’t go out often. Finding things around my house and backyard I could photograph for the photo blitz assignments was a bit of a challenge, but also helped me see ordinary things in a different way.
My favorite project by far was this last one. By Tuesday afternoon of this final week I had still not decided who I wanted to revolve my story around. I was frustrated, so I started watching some BuzzFeed Unsolved episodes on YouTube, which are my go-to when I get stuck on something. I was watching the one about Amelia Earhart, and suddenly it all came to me.
They discussed four theories of what may have happened to Earhart, but the one where she crash landed on Nikumaroro has always been my favorite, so I shaped my narrative around that one. I’ll be honest: I made this project with no plan or outline for what I wanted to do. As soon as I had the idea to make a story about Amelia Earhart, I spent time going through the ds_106 assignments and decided on two I wanted to make. The next five hours featured me crafting a missing poster and camp flyer, while spontaneously deciding to write a newspaper article as well. On Wednesday I had the idea to make an audio story about Amelia’s crash and what lead up to the crash. On Thursday I realized her transmissions were very hard to understand, so I came up with a way to put aeronautical maps in the background of subtitles. I also made the movie trailer on Thursday. I made all the tutorials on Friday as well as wrote this summary.
I honestly did not think I would get everything done in time. I did not see until Wednesday that this project was due Friday rather than on Sunday. I did end up finishing on time, and even with time to spare.
I would like to say that if I were given the chance to do this class over, I would spend more time thinking through and planning what I wanted to create, but I don’t think I would.
I said it at the beginning of this class, and I’ll say it again: Spontaneity makes the best art.