The disappearance of American pilot Amelia Mary Earhart (together with her navigator and airplane) may just be one of the most famous unsolved mysteries in the history of the world. She disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean during an attempt to circumnavigate the globe in 1937. She was 39.

Throughout her career, Earhart had set many records – one of it being the first person to fly solo from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Oakland in California on Jan 11, 1935.

A year later, Earhart planned a round-the-world flight – a 47,000km route which would closely trace the Equator. In July 1935, a Lockheed Electra 10E was specially built for that expedition.

Earhart first attempted to circumnavigate the globe in March 1937, but failed. However, the determined pilot tried again a couple of months later.

On her second attempt, Earhart was accompanied by her second navigator Fred Noonan. This time, they decided to fly in the opposite direction of the originally planned route due to the weather conditions.

Malaysia was one of Earhart’s many stopover countries during her round-the-world trip. Her flight route was from Thailand to Singapore and she had stopped over at the Taiping Airport in Perak to re-fuel on June 7, 1937.

Amelia Earhart

Earhart and Noonan had already completed about 35,000km of the journey when they reached Lae in New Guinea and on July 2, the navigators departed for Howland Island which was located 4,113km away.

Unfortunately, their final approach to the island was not successful. At 8.34am that day, Earhart radioed in this message: “We are on the line 157 337. We will repeat this message. We will repeat this on 6210 kilocycles. Wait.”

It was Earhart’s last known broadcast.

For many years, the disappearance of Earhart (and Noonan, along with their plane, of course) had generated many theories – some going as far as to claim that they were abducted by aliens!

Although some conspiracy theorists believe that Earhart had faked her disappearance and retired to New Jersey (which, according to New Jersey native Jon Bon Jovi is what heaven looks like), the truth may just be that the mystery was already solved over 70 years ago.

In 1940, the remains of a Caucasian woman with Earhart’s measurements, were found on an island just southeast of where she flew. However, this finding was never used to officially solve the mystery surrounding her disappearance.

So, for all we know, Earhart and Noonan could have returned to Perak and have been secretly living there since their plane mysteriously went off the radar. – By Sharmila Nair

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