A recent History Channel documentary centered around Amelia Earhart has brought renewed interest in the mystery of what happened to her.
The theory officially held by the US Government is that Earhart and her navigator ran out of fuel and crashed in to the Pacific Ocean.
But, a Wisconsin World War II Veteran has his own philosophy. At 100 years old, Curtis Knutson has a lifetime of memories; these come from his time in the army. “I was drafted in April 15th, 1941,” says Knutson. In January of 1943, he was stationed in New Guinea. There, he met a man whose story has kept him wondering for years.
“Standing outside of the gateway was this native New Guinean and beside him, he was standing beside this big brown American style suitcase.” Knutson says seeing a suitcase in that area was unheard of so he asked the man where it was from, and “he said that suitcase belongs to Amelia Earhart.”
Earhart’s plane had crashed into the harbor of what was once known as Hollandia, New Guinea. Knutson says he believes, after leaving in 1937, she turned around after her radio wasn’t working and went back to New Guinea where she became a Japanese Prisoner of War.
Knutson believes she was released and took off the day before he arrived in 1943, but her plane had a mechanical issue and crashed into the harbor.
He’s shared this theory with the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery and they say it is unlikely, but Knutson says, “I still think that if somebody wants Amelia Earhart’s plane, they should be able to find it in the harbor at Hollandia.