- 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
- 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
- "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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- More of her articles can be found at:
- http://blogs.salon.com/0003531/ http://blogs.salon.com/0004117/