Expedition Unknown – Amelia Earhart – S01E01

image Josh Gates is finally back with Expedition Unknown and for the inaugural episode he’s looking for clues in the mysterious disappearance of Amelia Earhart.

We last saw Josh on Destination Truth, where he spent his days and nights scouring the countryside in broken down cars and trucks, looking for explanations to some strange paranormal events and even some urban myths. For Expedition Unknown, he’s focusing on gathering information and evidence about some of the most intriguing unsolved mysteries out there.

As mentioned, for the first episode, Josh is trying to piece together clues regarding the disappearance of Amelia Earhart. As we all know, Amelia left on the final leg of her around the world journey, never to be seen again. There is no trace of the plane, the navigator or Amelia herself. Did she crash at sea? Did she land at the wrong island? Did she run out of fuel and circle back? Did she disappear on purpose? Regardless of what happened, there simply isn’t any tangible evidence.

For this 2 hour special, Josh heads out to Papua New Guinea, the last place anyone saw Amelia Earhart alive, to see what evidence he can gather. He goes right to the source, the very airfield Amelia took off from. Sadly, the place has been turned into a storage area and the only reminder of her adventures is a small plague that is showing some signs of distress.

But all is not lost as Josh does some investigation based on the idea that Earhart may have had enough fuel to actually return to Papua New Guinea. After meeting with several natives tribes wherein he thinks he might get eaten, he heads out into the jungle to look for wreckage. Josh is able to find some plane pieces both in the jungle as well as in the sea. After going through the specs of the Earhart plane, they determine the planes they’ve discovered are in fact the Japanese Zero, the legendary fighter plane.

There is plenty of debris to go around, but Josh hears about more tangible evidence that might be of value. It’s claimed that some remains were actually recovered off an island that would have been in the flight path of Amelia. Strangely, those remains were sent to the Fiji archives and were subsequently lost. Since it’s not too far out of the way, Josh heads over to see if perhaps he can get a clue of what happened to them. We are teased with a box that might be of value, but after the commercial break it’s revealed to be empty. But wait, there are more remains.

It is believed that some remains purported to be from the legendary crash were actually put into a box and stored under a house. When 13, John Gray, said he found those bones and turned them in. While investigating this angle, it appears the bones may have been handed down to other members of the family and Josh sets out to try and locate them. This of course means another hazardous trip to a remote tribe that might give him permission to look around or they might turn him into stew. Just kidding, nobody gets turned into stew.

He comes to find out that all the family members associated with the discovery are indeed deceased. With not much else to go on, heads to the childhood home of John Gray and heads under the house to sift around where the box of remains was stored. Oh my, he discovers some bones. Clearly some are from a box of chicken, but not all.

Josh believes the best course of action is to call the police and have them continue the work so he doesn’t disturb the crime scene. After filling out reports, Josh learns that the CSI team is sifting through the dirt and that some of the bones were human. In short order the investigation is over with Josh adding a lot of theory to the legend, but alas, no more tangible evidence than when he started.

But that doesn’t mean this episode wasn’t exciting and fun. I’m so glad Josh is back with a new show. His travel adventures are so full of mishaps and unusual events, like the earthquake in the tribal village and the volcano that looks like it’s going to blow any second. It has the same feel that made Destination Truth so much fun to watch. You knew Josh wasn’t going to find anything, but it was all about the journey, the people, the culture, the food, the drinks and the broken down vehicles.

And let’s not forget, Josh did uncover two different wrecks, with the plane in the ocean having human remains still in the cockpit. Perhaps, they will be able to identify the pilots and give them a proper burial. That made the trip worthwhile didn’t it?

The mystery of Amelia Earhart is alive and well. She may be gone, but clearly not forgotten. Her adventurous spirit lives on and until her remains are found, she will just be considered missing. As Josh says, she didn’t crash, or fail, or go off course, nor did the trip end in disaster – Amelia simply disappeared.

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