There's new, incredible footage of Amelia Earhart's last days
It’s been almost 90 years since trailblazing aviator Amelia Earhart went missing while flying over the Pacific Ocean, but new footage from her final days has been discovered. The three and a half minute film reel shows Earhart posing during a photo shoot that produced some of the most iconic images of her and giving a brief tour of her plane. Although there are some questions about when exactly the footage was taken, it’s undeniable that it was shot in 1937, possibly the same month she left for a flight around the world.
Earhart made history when she became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean in 1932, just five years after Charles Lindbergh made the first even nonstop solo flight. Fiercely independent and ready for adventure, Earhart then decided to take on another feat in aviation history. On May 21, 1937 she and navigator Fred Noonan left Burbank to fly around the world. The last time they were seen on land was in New Guinea on July 2, as they flew out for Howland Island in the Pacific. But they never made it, and the final radio transmission she sent indicated that the plane was low on fuel and they couldn’t see the island.
The new film was discovered by John Bresnik, son of the photographer John Bresnik who likely shot the film with his brother Al Bresnik. It sat in storage for 70 years before being found.
“I didn’t even know what was on the film until my dad died and I took it home and watched it,” Bresnik said of the footage. “It just always sat it in a plain box on a shelf in his office, and on the outside it said, ‘Amelia Earhart, Burbank Airport, 1937.'”
Bresnik believes it was taken in May, shortly before Earhart and Noonan left Burbank. Given the quiet way they left for their trip, it’s unlikely to have been the same day as their flight. But Richard Gillespie, the executive director of the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, isn’t so sure. Based on the configuration of the plane, he feels it was likely shot in March, a few months before Earhart’s final flight.
Although the full video won’t be released until later this month as part of a download deal with the purchase of the upcoming book Amelia Earhart’s Last Photo Shoot, AP released a short video with a few highlights.