It all began with a call from Jennings Bunn to Jim Sullivan on the "The Deep", a radio talk show aired on K57 radio in Guam. Jennings was in possession of a letter from Mr. Elliot Broughton, who knew of a WWII veteran claiming knowledge of fate of Amelia Earhart and her navigator following their much publicized disappearance following their attempted flight around the globe in 1937. Jennings contacted Mr. Broughton and learned of Mr. St John Naftel, who was stationed on Tinian at the end of the Japanese era of control. During Mr. Naftel's time on Tinian, he came to know a conscript of the Japanese army who confided the location of two graves that he had been forced to dig five days after his arrival in 1937. In these graves, he told Naftel, were buried the bodies of Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan. Jennings call to the radio show was a plea for assistance that Jim Sullivan and his guest host that evening Bob Silvers responded to. After an initial meeting to discuss the details, the Tinian Earhart Expedition was formed. During the next month, the group interviewed Mr. Naftel, researched his story, conducted an aerial surveys of the area and dug into the historical archives for additional supporting documentation to try to determine the validity of Mr. Naftel's story. By the end of September, it was looking very promising and it was decided that the only way to progress further was to bring Mr. Naftel to Tinian to undertake a physical search for evidence of the grave sites. With great confidence and anticipation, the arrangements were made.
On October 10 - 13, 2003, Mr Naftel returned to the Island of Tinian for the first time in sixty years. After four days of searching the archives and tromping through the jungles, Mr. Naftel and the team were able to locate two apparent grave sites at the edge of an unused roadbed matching Mr. Naftel's previous description. Thus began the lengthy process of obtaining the proper permits and expert technical support to properly follow this thread in the mystery to its rightful conclusion.
The story continues to unfold. On November 12, 2004 we began the physical process of excavating the apparent grave sites as a first step to determining whether they have any connection to the famed aviatrix. Use the links to the left to join our expedition and see what we uncover.
Still to come are video and audio clips of the expedition, so check back often!