Last known letter from Amelia Earhart’s navigator found by California man

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Almost 84 years after Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Captain Fred J. Noonan, went missing during their attempt to circumnavigate the globe, letters written by Noonan during their journey have been brought to light. 

In fact, one of the letters is believed to be the last known correspondence from the pair before they disappeared, according to a recent report. 

Hunter Person, from San Diego, said he actually learned about the letters when he was a teenager, KSWB reported Wednesday. 

According to the station, the four handwritten letters from Noonan – spanning from 1935 to 1937 – were found 40 years ago in Person’s grandfather’s desk. 

According to Person’s mom, Beverly, Noonan had been a family friend and had started writing to her parents when she was only 15, KSWB reported.

“It was exciting finding it after all those years, because it was kind of lost for a while,” Person told the station.

KSWB reported that Person recently decided to share the four letters publicly with KSWB and the San Diego Air and Space Museum.

One of the most significant finds is a 17-page letter postmarked from Java, on June 23, 1937, just eight days before Noonan and Earhart lost radio contact over the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, KSWB reported.

Amelia Earhart and Captain Fred Noonan pictured on June 11, 1937. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

“It’s an exciting letter, it tells the whole trip, and the last postmark was from Bandung, Java,” Person told the station.


Jim Kindrick, from the San Diego Air & Space Museum, told KSWB that it is the last known letter written before Earhart and Noonan disappeared.

“(There’s) nothing like this,” Kidrick told the station. “This is like someone’s journal. This is like a diary, you know, it’s a reveal that we just never expected. I never expected to ever read something like this — ever.”

Person told KSWB that he is trying to decide where the letters will end up and is considering a museum or a collector.


Following an unsuccessful first attempt to fly around the world, Earhart decided to try again in 1937. 

On July 2, 1937, the pair departed from Papua New Guinea and flew toward Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean so they could refuel. However, they never arrived on the island.

Neither the pilots nor their Lockheed Electra plane were ever found, despite numerous extensive searches. 

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