AquariusRadar Amelia Earhart Mystery
The Orona / Saipan Theory- Why she was taken captive (prisoner of war)!
The event that changed world history
The theory with motive!

Amelia Earhart's plane lies in 35 feet of water on the floor of the Orona lagoon. Her aircraft and the life raft were scuttled by the pro-Axis Japanese boarding party that took her and Fred Noonan prisoners (of war).
While all "solutions" to Amelia Earhart's disappearance, including this one, are mostly conjecture and speculation, this mystery won't be resolved until divers investigate the object on the floor of the Orona (Hull) Island lagoon. The plane will not be found at Saipan, but rather at Orona.
Satellite Photo
L10E model
Many hypothetical explanations of the disappearance and demise of Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan and the Lockheed Electra aircraft with which she hoped to circumnavigate the globe have been proposed. This is another, very similiar to some others, but different in that it answers one important question; how did the authenticated multitude of eyewitness accounts of Amelia being on Saipan come to be? Why would the pro-Axis Japanese military take her prisoner? This is an event that would dramatically change world history!
Google Earth measurements
of the L10E
Flight from
plane on the
lagoon floor.
This public information is repeated in greater detail at

The Orona Theory of disappearance is as follows: Amelia and the flight navigator Fred Noonan missed their target landing at Howland Island, and after searching for an hour and and a half, they determined they had the necessary fuel to reach the Phoenix Islands. They turned and flew down the pre-determined rhumb line 157 searching for any of the Phoenix Islands. This was the logical thing to do as they would be searching for any of eight (8) islands versus trying to find a single pair (2) small islands Howland/Baker. Several of the Phoenix Islands were much larger than tiny Howland. This and the eight (8) vs (2) advantage was realized as they encountered Hull (Orona) Island. Amelia's flying skill and a stiff easterly breeze allowed a controlled crash water landing on the placid lagoon surface. The fliers and the plane survived in whole. The plane began to sink but was supported as it hung up on a coral tower. With luck and perseverance by the fliers, the radio was jury rigged and short radio transmissions were made. The battery quickly expired and no one listening on the flights frequency and higher harmonics could understand the weak and garbled transmissions. At the end of the third day the fliers were taken prisoner by a Japanese Imperial Army boarding party. The criminal raiding party scuttled both the aircraft and the raft that Fred and Amelia had prepared. The raiders knew that the plane must be concealed quickly as the US Navy air/sea search was underway. The Japanese soldiers had set up a listening post on Nikumaroro where later, US Navy pilots reported "signs of recent habitation". Having been alerted to the disappearance of the fliers and being only 80 miles away, the pro-Axis Japanese military could have easily pinpointed the spurious transmissions of the downed fliers. The boarding party may have also been tipped off by some of the unwitting copra workers on Orona. The US Navy float plane that landed at Orona could not have seen the well concealed airplane and raft underwater. Out of fear of retribution if he told the truth, the copra worker foreman denied seeing any evidence of the American fliers as he spoke with the Navy search pilot who landed his seaplane at Orona. Failure of the US Navy search teams to go ashore and actually search the Phoenix Islands was a major blunder. The fliers were taken away as prisoners first to Kwajelein, Roi-Namur and later to Saipan.
There are earlier disappearance theories involving Orona. William Donahue, in 1987, published a book concerning Hull Island (Orona) and the flight disappearance. Donahue does not have evidence on the whereabouts of the plane. Near the end of his life, Fred Goerner changed his opinion about where the flight had gone down. Not at Mili as Goerner had proclaimed for years, but rather somewhere in the Phoenix Islands. That did not change his mind that the fliers were captives of the Axis Japanese on Saipan. In this respect the Orona theory and the work of Goerner are parallel. Very late in his investigations, Goerner must have uncovered evidence that reports of Amelia's airplane being at Mili Atoll was a fabrication promulgated by the pro-Axis Japanese army/military. Yamamoto and the conventional military wanted the spy scenrio to play out as the excuse for colonial expansion in Southeast Asia. But pro-Axis militants and Tojo thought the spy story would only alert America to the Axis preparations for war. Tojo chose secret attack and total war instead and forced Yamamoto into his Pearl Harbor plan. That sealed the fate of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan. There is no foundation for US Government conspriracy or coverup stories. The US Government's hands were tied by the US Navy's own conclusions that the flight went down near Howland and the fliers lost to the sea. No one except the Axis Japanese military knew the whole story. The look-a-like plane on Saipan that was reported destroyed by American forces after the Saipan victory may have been the Electra the the pre-war Japanese Navy bought before aircraft sales were embargoed. It was surely an unaltered factory model L10 as the testimony of USMC Ford said (about the As Lito Airfield plane) "it looked just like Amelia's plane with the two windows towards the rear". That description doesn't fit the known configuration researched by the TIGHAR group that shows that Amelia's aircraft had but one window when it departed the US. The US government didn't want John Q. Average to know there was military capable sales to Japan prior to Pearl Harbor. The US government wanted no espionage stories to spread. The US military forces on Saipan reported the serial numbers of the plane and components; knowing it was not Amelia's plane and to avoid any confusion and further embarrassment the government had the look-a-like plane destroyed. The in-situ investigation of the plane at Orona will tell more of the complete history.

Admiral Yamamoto- The spy accusation concocted by the pro-Axis Japanese military after the serendipitous capture of the American flyers, was used secretly to convince Yamamoto that America was already planning war. The false charge was complex and included a fake L10E at the Alisto Field, Saipan. So well constructed was the ruse, that even today many investigators still believe Amelia was a US spy and that the US Government/ Navy are implicated in her loss.

Unsubstantiated rumor relates that Yamamoto, as a upcoming Japanese naval officer traveling and studying in the US, attended Englsh classes at Harvard taught by Amelia Earhart. Yamamoto sat in her classroom! Did Yamamoto later meet with Amelia on Roi-Namur?
Additional veiled assassination threats and political pressure forced Yamamoto into his offensive Pearl Harbor plan. Whether he actually believed the spy charge or simply used it as an excuse to move his navy to the offensive, we will never know. Yamamoto was killed as his plane was shot down by another Kelly Johnson plane, the P-38 Lightning over New Guinea in 1943.

This author speculates that Yamamoto put orders in place to protect Amelia while on Kwajalein and later Saipan. Amelia spent the largest time of her captivity at quarters prepared for her at Roi-Namur. Conditions were civil and adequate for the maintenance of her health. With the defeat at Midway, Yamamoto's influence waned and Amelia was moved to Saipan by the IJA. Conditions worsened and certainly after Yamamoto's death, his protective orders were countermanded altogether by the pro-Axis Army elements. As a result, her nutritional and health care declined such that Amelia contracted one of the many bacteriological diseases rampant in the tropics during the war. Most likely from the recurring bouts of sinusitis that had plagued her life since early youth. Under the poor nutrition condition, sepsis crept in and her physicians were unable to save her. Amelia died in the spring of 1943.
How did
they get to
Why not crash and sink or Nikumaroro?

Crime investigators point out that people who vanish without evidence do so on account of other people! No evidence of Amelia Earhart's plane has been recovered by multiple expeditions of deep water searches around Howland and Nikumaroro. The US Navy has every good reason to search for the downed aircraft around Howland. The events of the time is important for US Naval history and the Navy would very much like to locate the aircraft in order to negate accusations of spying (by American students of the disappearance today) on the Japanese armed forces and intensifying the deteriorating relations that contributed to war. The Navy has good reasons to know where every metallic object is on the ocean floor in their areas of operation. Search and rescue is an important part of Naval operations and knowing where old objects are is very important. Dozens if not hundreds of voyages by sonar laden and magnetometer equipped US naval vessels have crisscrossed the area with no evidence of the aircraft being pinpointed and photographed. That's because the aircraft lies in the shallow waters of the lagoon at Orona, away and hidden from the probing sonar and metal detectors. The US Navy has modern and very sensitive and up to date technology for undersea surveillance.

The other problem with the crash and sink theory is the reference that almost all supporters use for flight endurance.That reference is the message of Amelia Earhart recorded as "low on fuel" and perhaps "one half hour left". Using the 1/2 hour reference, the crash and sank argument is paced backwards to the take-off at Lae using the worst case Lockheed fuel consumption specifications to prove conclusively that Amelia was a poor pilot, poor decision maker, and indeed a worse fuel manager. The crash and sink theory throws out the well respected endurance information (>3200 miles) provided by Lockheed and Kelly Johnson and use instead the word(s) of a panic stricken Amelia, whom they claim is a bad pilot and incapable of managing fuel consumption. Irrationally, according to crash and sink theory, somehow Amelia was able to determine that she had but 26 gallons out of a total 1150 gallons total when she made the distress radio call. Johnson is recognized as one of the best aircraft designers of the era.

Where the mystery started-The 48 star flag implanted by the National Geographic Solar Expedtion at Canton, June 1937. Photo courtesy Aras Mardosa 1972.
Fred and Amelia were familiar with the Phoenix Islands and the islands had been studied in the pre flight planning. Turning to the south and searching for eight islands of the Phoenix group was a much bettor gamble than circling about looking for tiny Howland /Baker. They wern't sure where they were, so the 157 rhumb line was as good as any- it headed south and they knew that eight islands lay in that direction. As any poker player will say, best play with a bad hand. Update July 28, 2012: The investigation group TIGHAR has completed a deep water search with the latest remote submersible technologies off the steep reef face of Gardner (Nikumaroro) Island. No airplane parts were found.
While the symmetry study is the definitive mathematical proof ( no one has shown the faulty logic or error), the Google Earth measurements of line distance divided by the refractive index of water also result in the exacting dimensions of the L10E. Example: A to C measures 52' using the GE toolbar "ruler" function. 52' divided by 1.33 is 39'. That is the same as the L10E.

Symmetry study Points A-B-C-D-E-F-G (text) on the image creates 21 lines connecting identified points on the aircraft. Six of the lines were selected and the 30 ratios created by dividing each line by the remaining 5 result in values the same as corresponding line ratios on drawings and models of the Lockheed L10E that Ameia Earhart and Fred Noonan were piloting when they disappeared. Over two hundred ratio comparisons can be made with the total 21 lines. These comparisons are the same as the actual airplane drawings.
The long journey of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan. Each of the locations annotated in the Marshall Islands and Saipan is documented in some version of the Saipan theory. The airplane at Orona supports the theory that Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan were captured by pro-Axis Japanese forces and imprisoned on Saipan. The imprisonment of the fliers was kept secret from the Japanese public as well. The secret spy hoax went undetected for decades as all the defenders and those knowing about the imprisonment at Roi-Namur and Saipan died in the fierce fighting as US forces liberated the islands.
The pro-Axis Japanese Imperial Army were everywhere around their mandated perimeter of the Pacific with listening posts. The listening post at Nikumaroro was setup initially to gather information on the US/UK presence on Canton in support of the National Geographic expedition for the June 8, 1937 complete solar eclipse at Canton headed up by scientist Samuel Mitchell. The Tojo's IJA sought to gather evidence that could be twisted to illustrate treachery and spying. Both the USS Avocet and HMS Wellington were at Canton and this offered the perfect opportunity for the Nazis within the IJA to pervert any radio interception as evidence of spying. The Nazis couldn't have hoped for a better outcome when a month later, feeble radio intercepts indicated that Amelia was on nearby Hull Island (Orona). Pre-war Japan was divided internally and the point of intense political turmoil that include purges and assassination within the ranks of government. Yamamoto was recognized as the superlative naval tactician but he was a moderate who rejected offensive naval war with the US. So Amelia's capture and subsequent spy ruse concocted at Jaluit and Mili in the Marshall Islands by the pro-Axis forces may have been part of a greater plan to convince Yamamoto (in 1937 a vice admiral) that the US was already planning offensive war. The hoax accusation, carefully exercised with Amelia as the central figure, must have shaken Yamamoto's core reasoning of America as a gentle but sleepy giant. He felt betrayed by a trusted American for whom he had previous respect. As a result of the hoax, Yamamoto felt the giant was indeed an unforeseen enemy. The Axis forces grasped for excuses for their conduct that included spy threats as they planned the murderous rampages in Southeast Asia and China that would commence only months after the AE/FN world flight went missing. The Navy searchers from the Colorado did not arrive until the afternoon of the 9th. The lost flyers had been spirited far away; Amelia and Fred had already been held captive 3 days aboard the Japanese sub as it approached Roi-Namur in the Marshall Islands. The Navy flyers could not see the Electra and raft lying on the bottom of the lagoon as their seaplane landed at (Orona) Hull. The air search covered nearby Nikumaroro as well where "signs of recent habitation" were reported. The "recent inhabitants" were of course the pro-Axis Japanese Army shore party (listening post) that took Amelia captive. Amelia's plane may be observed near the dark spot on the lagoon floor at West 172 degrees 09 minutes and 28 seconds and South 4 degrees 29 minutes and 53 seconds. The pirates were members of the dreaded Kempeitai, the IJA secret police modeled after the Gestapo of the Nazi Hitler. The copra workers at Orona would be easily coerced into a false story about the crash landing. The reputation for the ruthless violence and murder by the Kempeitai was known throughout the Asia Pacific. The pirates sank the Electra and the raft. At the coordinates given lies a long narrow silhouette that might be a sailing vessel. Upon close examination, details show the symmetry of major components whose shape fits the classic design of the Electra. The nature of the analysis is contained in the Next page.

If the fliers were Northwest of Howland in an area of reported
dense clouds, they would have flown South out of the clouds to find smoke from Itasca.
Reporting "we are on you but cannot see you", and signal level 5 (strong and clear) radio transmissions means they were flying in relatively close proximity to Itasca and most likely in clear air.
The moderator at the very interesting website Pacific Wrecks has kindly allowed this material to be posted on that website forum. Look for "Plane in the lagoon at Orona" under the Wrecks and Losses . An interesting discussion there shows clearly that the horizon discrepancy noted behind the men on the dock and an article in the Pacific Islands Monthly, Sept. 1935 prove conclusively that the Les Kinney/ONI photo was taken from the dock built in 1936 by Robert Reimer for the Japanese military.

A history researcher recently discovered this 1937 picture in the National Archive/ONI records of the Jaluit Marshall Islands and it shows that Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan were on Jaluit. The scenario shown in the image fits the descriptions of Bilimon Amram and other Marshallese witnessing the rescue of the "spies". The spy hoax was complex and may have included a purposely crashed plane on Mili Atoll; IJA soldiers posing as Japanese fishermen are witnessed by the Marshallese elders to have rescued the fliers. All this would be used later by the IJA to convince the IJN that America was spying on Japan's military. Bilimon stands to the right with the bandanna. Fred clutches the pole used as a crutch/splint to immobilize his lower right leg. Fred and the doctor, the slight man with sunglasses looking directly into the camera, stand before a tiny boat used as a water litter in order to get Fred onto the dock from the water's surface. Amelia sits to the far right. Distinctive hair, light skin, 3/4 elbow length blouse, and trousers all mark that this is Amelia. As seen in the image, Amelia's blouse design included extra lenght in the back to preclude riding up no matter how far the lady bent forward . Her suitcase sits on the dock directly in front of Fred at the left. The distinctive design of Amelia's luggage is unmistakable. The recently discovered location of the USS Indianapolis is of interest as the ship was at Roi-Namur/Kwajalein battle and at the Saipan battle. The woman's suitcase found at Roi-Namur was turned over to a naval officer and again at Saipan the briefcase found in a safe was turned over to a naval officer. Those officers could well have been from the USS Indianapolis who were ashore for gun directing duties.

The Mahan principle- the nation that wins the sea wins the war-as exercised by the IJN did not include the offensive first strike that Tojo's Army needed to secure the Imperialist expansion in the Asia Pacific. The faux spy hoax charging Amelia as a spy was part of the larger plan to force the Imperial Navy into the offensive first strike. After bringing the IJN into the modern era with carrier and aircraft power, Yamamoto still rejected the first strike concept, knowing war with the US was futile in the long run. The fake spy charges helped change the admiral's and IJN thinking about the Mahan principle and thus the Pearl Harbor attack plan was born.

The Les Kinney/ONI photo on the left and above contains definitive proof that the photo is post 1936 and could very well be Ameia Earhart and Fred Noonan on the dock at Jaluit. Look carefully at the horizon behind the persons on the dock and one will find a horizon discrepancy in the photo. That discrepancy, earth curvature, and documentary news reports of the Pacific Islands Monthly September 1935 prove the photo to be post 1936 and most likely 1937. The claims that the photo is from a 1935 travel guide is bogus and a subtrafuge. A complete discussion is at Wrecks and Losses forum on Pacific