Earhart - Latest
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By Cassandra Frost
Hours ago, the man who inspired the Tinian Earhart Expedition, Saint John Naftel, arrived on Tinian to verify, along with about 20 others, that the spot that he was shown 60 years ago is indeed the final resting place of the famed woman aviator, Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan.
Naftel, who is now 82 years old, has waited 60 years for Friday, November 12 and, according to Bob Silvers, expedition member, "He's excited, in good spirits and is in great shape for a man his age."
"He's wanted to get the story out and make sure the story is put to rest," Silvers continued. "Whether it's true or not, the story needs to be put to rest so it's no longer an urban legend."
Yesterday, people on Guam, Saipan and Tinian were crazy as they got ready for Friday's dig.
At one point, Jim Sullivan, expedition member, was checking his email while he had two phones glued to his ears as he spoke with both Silvers and Joe Edhlund at the same time while Dr. Tom King was put on call waiting. Edhlund became involved last year by providing the services of Sky Blue Air for the expeditionís aerial surveys. Dr. Tom King is a senior archeologist with The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR). Tinian officials were making sure that the expeditionists had everything they needed to set up their base camp, like awnings, digging equipment and the cooperation of the entire island.
The island of Tinian has a population of about 3,000, is approximately 10.5 miles long by 5 miles at its widest point, has a total area of 39.2 square miles and a coastline 38 miles in length. The highest point, Puntan Carolinas, is 583 feet above sea level. The main town is San Jose. Tinian is primarily agricultural and a large portion has been leased to the U.S. military.
Tinian is 115 miles north of the U.S. territory, the island of Guam and is where the airplanes were loaded with ìFat Manî and ìLittle Boyî that then flew out on August 6, 1945 to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Today, in preparation for the dig, site work was being done, the area was cordoned off, the grass was being mowed and archeologists talked shop as they measured the ground and mapped its contours. Expedition members were settling into the Meitetsu Fleming hotel in San Jose, where they will have to eat in shifts for the next four days and, if they can, get some rest amid all the excitement.
Sometime mid-Friday morning, a shovel will hit the dirt on the same spot that was shown to Naftel in 1944. The site was discovered last October by The Tinian Earhart Expedition as they sought Earhart and Noonan's final resting place after both disappeared July 2, 1937 while they flew her twin-engine Lockheed Model 10E Special "Electra" on an equatorial trip around the world.
The site the expedition discovered is about 15 yards off an old road near a World War II Japanese internment camp in the overgrown Tinian jungle, right where Naftel remembered it was.
Last year, a friend of Naftel's wrote a letter to the Governor of Guam and military authorities that told the tale of how Naftel was shown the burial site of Earhart and Noonan by someone who claims to have helped bury the bodies.
The letter came to the attention of Jennings Bunn, the third member of the expedition, who, at the time, was living and working on Guam.
One night shortly thereafter, Bunn was listening to the inaugural airing of a science talk show, The DEEP, on Guamís Newstalk, K-57. The show's theme was Amelia Earhartís disappearance. During the show, he called the host, Jim Sullivan, about the letter.
The two met up soon thereafter with local marine engineer, Bob Silvers, at a coffee shop and they formed the Tinian Earhart Expedition. A year ago, with the help of charter operator, Joe Edhlund, the expedition begin flying aerial surveillance over Tinian to narrow down possible sites, trying to match the descriptions given by Naftel.
After hanging out of the airplane to take pictures, fighting overgrown jungle and nearly giving up, Silvers and Sullivan found themselves in the Tinian Office of Cultural Preservation, searching for more maps through the cobwebs, old helmets and war relics.
Just like a scene out of an Indiana Jones movie, they found one old map that showed a previously unrecorded road that matched Naftelís exact description.
They then drove back out to the location theyíd returned to over and over and, in teams of two, searched for and discovered the old road. They then found old Japanese and American bottles with the correct years on them. Then, just as Naftel described, at a spot 15 to 20 yards to the left of the old road, Silvers found two depressions in the dirt that looked like graves. Naftel confirmed this was the site he had been shown and Sullivan recorded the whole thing on video tape.
"There were some bones found," Silvers reported today. "But they washed up during a storm on the beach nearby. Everyone thinks they are those of a lost 14 year old boy, but it was still kind of exciting."
Friday, with permits in place, the digging begins. If bones are found, according to Silvers, it may take about two weeks for the forensic lab tests to verify that they match Earhart's DNA.
Those on-site include field director and archeologist, Mike Fleming from Saipan, senior archeologist Dr. Tom King, Ephihanio E. Cabrera Jr. of the CNMI Department of Cultural Affairs on Saipan, Bunn, Silvers, Sullivan and Naftel himself. Advisors also include Forensic Anthropologist Dr. Karin Ramey Burns, who is an assistant Professor from the University of Georgia and the team of Marilyn Swift and Randy Harper who are archeological consultants from Saipan.
Dr. Hiro Kurashina, an Archeological Historical Preservationist professor from the University of Guam, along with six students, will arrive sometime Friday.
The CNMI recently issued the permits that grant the expedition permission to dig the site from November 12 to 16. The CNMI will then have custody of any remains.
Does Naftel think they will finally find the burial site he was shown 60 years ago? According to audio recorded last year by Sullivan, Naftel said "I'd stake my life on it.
Cassandra 'Sandy' Frost is an award winning e-journalist and editor who has covered the topics of Intuition, Remote Viewing and Consciousness from an Athabascan or Alaska Native point of view the past three years.
More of her articles can be found at:



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