Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Now, British Sailor Claims Spotted Smoking MH370

Tuesday, 03 June 2014

PIC: ReutersPIC: ReutersKUALA LUMPUR: A British sailor is now claiming to have seen Malaysia Airlines MH370 billowing black smoke on the night it disappeared, after nearly three months of intense but fruitless searching for the missing plane.

Katherine Tee, 41, said she was sailing from Kochi, India towards Phuket, Thailand with her husband March Horn, 50 when she purportedly saw a large aircraft on fire on March 8.

“I saw something that looked like a plane on fire. That’s what I thought it was. Then, I thought I must be mad... It caught my attention because I had never seen a plane with orange lights before, so I wondered what they were,” said Tee to the Phuket Gazette yesterday.

“I could see the outline of the plane, it looked longer than planes usually do. There was what appeared to be black smoke streaming from behind it,” she said.

Tee said she was on night-watch on the couple’s 40-foot sloop on the night of March 7 and 8, about the same time MH370 vanished from civilian radars with 239 passengers and crew after departing from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport en route to Beijing.

Investigations later showed the jetliner mysteriously veering from its original flight path in the opposite direction towards the vast Indian Ocean.

Tee said she had spotted two other aircraft visible that night but in the opposite direction with “normal navigation lights” switched on.

“I remember thinking that if it was a plane on fire that I was seeing, the other aircraft would report it,” she said.

“And then, I wondered again why it had such bright orange lights. They reminded me of sodium lights. I thought it could be some anomaly or just a meteor.”

While the couple arrived in Phuket on March 10, they did not file their report with the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) that is now coordinating the search until last Sunday, almost three months later.

Tee added that she had disclosed what she had seen to her husband only upon hearing about the disappearance of the ill-fated aircraft after reaching Phuket.

“Some suggested I should say something, that (what I saw) might have been it. Most said that the flight was heading toward Vietnam. I wasn’t sure of the date or time [of the sighting]. I am still not,” she was quoted saying.

“I did think that what I saw would add little, and be dismissed with the thousands of other sightings that I assumed were being reported. I thought that the authorities would be able to track (the plane’s) GPS log, which I assumed was automatically transmitted, or something like that.

“Most of all, I wasn’t sure of what I saw. I couldn’t believe it myself, and didn’t think anyone would believe me when I was having trouble believing my own eyes,” she said.

Tee said her husband cross-referenced the yacht’s route and discovered that it was travelling in the vicinity of one of MH370’s projected flight paths.

On Friday, Australian authorities spearheading the search mission declared the end of the search for the missing jet in the southern Indian Ocean, after a deep-sea hunt using a drone had not been able to detect any trace of aircraft debris in more than 850 square kilometres of the ocean floor.

The JACC said the underwater sub Bluefin-21 had completed its last mission searching the remaining areas where several “pings” believed to have originated from the missing passenger plane had been detected in early April.

“Will this help the authorities of the families get closure? I have no idea. All I can confirm is that I have since learnt that we were in the right place at the right time, so it seems possible, but I chose to sweep it under the carpet and now I feel really bad,” said Tee.

-The Malay Mail
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