In recent years, there have been a number of bombshell claims made about the disappearance of famed aviator Amelia Earhart, who went missing somewhere over the Pacific during a record-setting attempt at circling the globe by plane on July 2, 1937. Some reports indicated she and her navigator, Fred Noonan, may have been captured by Japanese forces, though they were promptly debunked. Further reports suggested previously-dismissed human remains found on a remote Pacific island may actually have belonged to Earhart, but because the bones have been missing for decades, the trail seemed to go cold from there.

Now however, new footage may help to tie those long-missing bones to Earhart more conclusively, though in a somewhat indirect manner. The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) has recently secured the rights to 16mm footage of Earhart and Noonan’s Lockheed Electra aircraft taken just one day prior to their disappearance in Papua New Guinea. The footage shows Earhart’s Electra taking off for a short test flight and subsequent refueling, neither of which necessarily provide any new details regarding her disappearance, except for what clearly looks to be an aluminum patch on the Electra’s fuselage near the tail.

That patch is the focus of TIGHAR’s continued study, as it bares a striking resemblance to an aluminum fragment found on Nikumaroro, the very same remote island where the bones were discovered. Those bones were first found in 1940, and based on the island’s location and Earhart’s flight path, it was believed that she may have survived a water landing and lived out her remaining days stranded on the atoll. Analysis of the bones at the time, however, seemed to dash those hopes. A physician named D.W. Hoodless studied the bones in 1940 and claimed with high certainty that they belonged to a man, not the famed female aviator. The bones would go missing the following year.

Footage captured the day before Amelia Earhart's disappearance may finally end the mystery
Amelia Earhart waves from the cockpit of her plane circa 1929. (Photo by Getty Images)

However, a study of measurements taken of those bone fragments conducted just last year by researchers at the University of Tennessee came to a very different conclusion: