A new theory on the mysterious disappearance of pilot Amelia Earhart has emerged after claims the wreckage of her plane was found by Australian soldiers during the Second World War.
In 1945, an Australian infantry battalion stumbled upon an unpainted, all-metal twin-engine aircraft wreck in the jungle of East New Britain Island, in what is now Papua New Guinea.
In the midst of wartime, they were unsure of their exact position, but upon discovery of the aircraft - which appeared to have crashed before the war - the group of men recorded what information they had.
They retrieved a metal tag hanging by wire near the engine on the plane, which had a serial number and other tactical information, the Earhart Search Project reported.
The tag itself was handed over to the American base upon the realization the serial number and engine information came from an American company.
It has never been seen since, with some claiming it was lost within mountains of wartime archives.
However, the map in which the soldiers etched the information on was discovered by retired Australian aviation engineer, David Billings, who has dedicated his life to finding and recovering wreckage.
The notation 'C/N 1055' was among two other identifiers that matched Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Electra Model 10E plane, which went missing en route to Howland Island in 1937.
The famed pilot was the first female to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, and was on an ambitious voyage around the globe when she went missing.
After years of searching for the aircraft and its two inhabitants, Earhart was legally declared dead in 1939.
It has been assumed, through signals and communication, that she and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared shortly before they were to arrive at Howland Island, almost half-way between Hawaii and Australia.
This destination was up to 2,600 miles and almost 20 hours away from her take-off location in Lae, New Guinea.
However, the mystery remains, if the deserted plane discovered on Papua New Guinea during World War Two was in fact Ms Earhart's, how and why did she return to a destination so close to her initial take-off?
This theory suggests after flying almost 20 hours, Ms Earhart and Mr Noonan were unable to locate the minuscule island, and she invoked her contingency plan, which included turning back for the Gilbert Islands.
While many argue this would have been simply impossible, Mr Billings argued she carefully manufactured her systems to be able to complete the grueling journey back.
While the widely accepted last radio correspondence was Ms Earhart saying 'we are running on north and south...' which was recorded 20 hours and 14 minutes after take-off near Howland, a radio operator on Nuaro Island - who had also monitored contact and recognized her voice - believed he picked up other correspondence.
He allegedly heard up to three calls within a 10-hour period after the supposed 'final call' was made.
Mr Billings has conducted many expeditions in the general vicinity of where the original map, with information regarding the plane wreckage, suggests the soldiers may have been.
Through his own expertise, he is confident the Australian-held wartime map is authentic.
He also went on to add the handwriting reflects unmistakable data points and little-known references of military operations in 1945 East New Britain.
Mr Billings will embark on one final search into the area later this year, the 81st anniversary of Earhart’s disappearance.
WHAT ARE THE THEORIES ON AMELIA EARHART'S FINAL DAYS?
Theory One: Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan crash into the Pacific a few miles short of their intended destination due to visibility and gas problems, and die instantly.
Theory Two: Earhart and Noonan crash land on the island of Nikumaroro, where they later die at the hands of coconut crabs, which hunt for food at night and grow up to three-feet long. The name comes from their ability to opened the hardened shells of coconuts.
Theory Three: Earhart and Noonan veer drastically off course and crash land near the Mili Atoll in the Marshall Islands. They are rescued but soon taken as prisoners of war by the Japanese and sent to a camp in Saipan. Noonan is beheaded and Earhart dies in 1939 from malaria or dysentery.
Theory Four: Earhart and Noonan make it to Howland Island as planned and are eaten by cannibals.
Theory Five: Earhart was an American spy sent to gather information on the Japanese ahead of World War II.
Theory Six: Earhart and Noonan are unable to locate Howland Island, and head toward their 'contingency plan'. After a ten hour journey back toward the location they came from, they crash in the jungle of East New Britain Island, in what is now known as Papua New Guinea.
Original Article by Brittany Chain @ The Daily Mail