Leading Amelia Earhart Researcher Blasts New Evidence: 'This Photo Is Absurd'

Playing Expert Believes New Amelia Earhart Photo Is Not Her

A controversial photo said to show Amelia Earhart may be making headlines around the world, but a leading expert on the legendary aviator says there's no way it depicts the pilot who vanished 80 years ago.

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The photo is featured in a forthcoming History Channel documentary, Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence, which airs Sunday.

The program claims the figure may be Earhart, and the man on the left is her navigator, Fred Noonan. Their wrecked plane is supposedly being towed behind a Japanese warship.

While the photo has generated new interest in the decades-long mystery, one man says it's nothing to get excited about.

“This photo is absurd," Mike Campbell, the author of Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last, told Inside Edition. "The claims being made about this photo are irresponsible. There is nobody in this photo that even remotely resembles Amelia Earhart, period.”

He added that “everything's different” in the photo and “there is no way to determine that it's even a female.”

He added that he has no professional jealousy toward the documentary producers who uncovered.

“I wish the photo did depict what they say," he said. "I really wish it did."

The documentary's executive producer, Gary Tarpinian, believes it's the real deal, and it solves one of history's greatest unsolved mysteries.

“We had two of the top photo digital analysts look at it and they came to the conclusion that it was 99.7 percent real,” he told Inside Edition. "I almost fell out of my chair. I couldn't believe it was real."

Amelia Earhart’s plane vanished over the pacific in 1937 as she attempted to become the first female pilot to fly around the world.

The photo, unearthed in the National Archives, was taken on a remote South Pacific island occupied by the Japanese.

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The documentary claims the two captured Americans were taken to a Japanese prison on the island of Saipan and died there.

David Earhart, a distant cousin of the pilot, told the Today show that the photo filled him with pride. He believes it is genuine.

"I do think it's her in the photograph," he said. "I think she was the embodiment of the American spirit, the sense of adventure and she did amazing things."

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