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Maybe I was right about MH370, after all…

June 1, 2014

OK, so I have been contacted by a freelance journalist, who asked to interview me.  I answered her questions, but posted them on Cruisers Forum where I work.  She is freelance and has submitted her article to a Sydney based newspaper. It remains to be seen if they will run it, but they might just decide that I am making it all up for a bit of media attention.  Not that it matters.  Having buried my head in the sand regarding what I saw, my fellow members have done an awesome job of asking the right questions to draw out what I can remember.  I have, of course, been googling it obsessively today, since before last night I know pretty much nothing…  The last I heard of the matter, back in mid March, was that people thought it was hiding somewhere in Vietnam… another reason I thought I must have been mistaken.  Since admitting what I think I saw last night (and only since then) I have found out that the plane could well have been where I saw that strange strange glowing orange plane.

I have reported the issue to the relevant authority, and who knows they might believe me.  But I didn’t believe what I saw, so why should they?  But I do hope that perhaps what I saw helps clarify what happened.   We also posted our complete track data for the period of time in question, since Marc and I decided that complete disclosure was the best way to go; despite a few warnings from concerned members who suggested I pull the blog post and request that the thread be deleted since they thought I might face a media barrage.  The CF members have been awesome in finding evidence that would support my sighting, so maybe it will help someone somewhere to know that it was burning.  Not a big fireball, or anything dramatic, just a glowing orange plane moving across the horizon.  You should check out the full thread on CF if you’re interested.  But this was the image that convinced me, posted by europaflyer:

Detail of the boat track and CPA. Shows the flightpath passing astern from port to starboard. (boat track-up not north-up) Swap the lower two boat track labels round, for some reason they are flipped at larger scales.

Detail of the boat track and CPA. Shows the flightpath passing astern from port to starboard. (boat track-up not north-up) Swap the lower two boat track labels round, for some reason they are flipped at larger scales.

 

Now, one thing I have to say is that I feel shit about this.  Because I doubted my sanity at the time, I didn’t report it when I got to land and heard about the missing plane.  Because I assumed I was wrong and the plane had gone the other way to Vietnam I didn’t report it. Because I assumed the other two aircraft I could see at the time would report it if I was seeing was real, I didn’t even consider putting out a Mayday at the time.  Imagine what an idiot I would have looked if I was mistaken, and I believed I was.  Now I feel shit.  Will this help either the authorities get closure?  I have no idea; but I chose to sweep it under the carpet, and now I feel really bad.

The moral of the story?  I don’t know.  Maybe I should have a little more confidence in myself.  But I am sorry I didn’t take action sooner.

19 Comments leave one →
  1. June 2, 2014 9:47 am

    hi Kate,
    you’ve done a great job by posting it as CF & now you’ve notified the authorities, well done. Don’t blame yourself for anything :-) and yes, do have more confidence in yourself :-) It was the right choice to write about what you might have witnessed.
    I hope that newspaper will publish your story :-)
    H

  2. Paul Gleave permalink
    June 2, 2014 2:53 pm

    Hi Kate

    You mention that you saw two other aircraft at the time. Could you elaborate on that please? Were they following the same path? Would you assume that they were also airliners? And was the glow definitely orange? If this was at night, are you sure that it was smoke that was issuing, and not a contrail?

    Thanks

    Paul
    (just an interested party, not a journo)

    • June 2, 2014 3:16 pm

      Good question. I have elaborated on the two aircraft on Cruisers Forum thread. The glow was definitely orange. At first I thought they were sodium lights which struck me as strange. The black trail is what made me think the plane was on fire. It could have been a contrail, in fact my thoughts were, “oh, but the trail is black”.

      • Paul Gleave permalink
        June 2, 2014 4:02 pm

        If it appeared above the horizon, then depending on the distance it could still actually have been quite high (due to curvature of the Earth) and so might have been a contrail. On the other hand if you could make out the colour of the smoke at night then it must have been quite close and therefore low. I suppose the problem is that it is known for a fact that the aircraft was still flying south for another few hours after it passed the point that you’ve indicated. I wonder if the orange glow was something other than fire?

  3. June 2, 2014 4:58 pm

    It is with relief that I hear the news sites aren’t picking it up. That, apparently has to do with the fact that I have been posting as honestly about it as I can. The more I say, the less credible I am. Well, TBF, I have said in pretty much every post that I have doubted my sanity. That I don’t even know what day of the week it was. That’s fine.

    Oddly enough, the freelance journalist who approached me said if I want it to be picked up I should say as little as possible if I want the papers to pick it up. Well, I admit that since I am so cynical, I thought that maybe she’d be getting paid for submitting the story! But that is why I decided to post everything I know as openly as possible. I’m not after fame or money! But I do know that at least one family member has thanked me, and the ATSB has assured me the track data is being considered. That is all I wanted or needed.

    Can I ask that any more comments are posted on Cruisers Forum, tho please? That helps me to keep it all tidy. Thanks.

    http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f108/i-think-i-saw-mh370-127132-7.html

    • Barry permalink
      June 4, 2014 2:06 am

      You are probably nuts. “Didn’t talk to my husband for a week” On a boat? There’s a clue I think.

  4. Loretta Ryan permalink
    June 3, 2014 2:28 pm

    Hi Kate, I’m the co-host of a radio show in Brisbane, Australia and we’d
    like to interview you. Could you email me at lryan@fairfaxmedia.com.au
    The radio station is called 4BC.. it’s news/talk .. My name is Loretta Ryan.
    Hoping to hear from you so we can work out a suitable time to call you.

    • June 3, 2014 6:12 pm

      Thank you, but no. If I can help with your research in any way, please post your questions on the CF thread, and I’ll answer as honestly as possible.

  5. Ray Dixon permalink
    June 4, 2014 3:33 am

    Hi Kate,

    Your story has indeed made the media in Australia:

    http://www.bordermail.com.au/story/2328452/mh370-search-british-sailor-may-have-seen-malaysia-airlines-jet-on-fire/?cs=12

    The article I’ve linked to is on the Border Mail website, however, they’re part of the large Fairfax media group and the original article would be from either The Age or The Sydney Morning Herald (or both), two very large papers. I’d also expect to see this story on tonight’s mainstream TV news in Australia.

    I don’t like to criticise you but reading the article and what you’ve written here, I would have thought that you could (and should) have used a mobile phone or other internet device to find out if any planes had been reported missing or in distress in the hours (or even days) after you saw what you described. Or at least told someone else on board, regardless of your “relationship issues”.

  6. Patrick permalink
    June 4, 2014 3:46 am

    Hi Kate
    7News Australia would like to speak with you. Please call +61 2 8777 7777 and ask for the newsroom. Your story is of great interest. Thanks. Patrick.

  7. carlacram permalink
    June 4, 2014 4:50 am

    As someone who works closely with the media, you will definitely face a media barrage now that it’s been picked up by Fairfax. You will need to decide very quickly how you manage this situation. Good luck, if you need help, there are people out there who can help you

  8. Cao permalink
    June 4, 2014 5:07 am

    Hi Kate, I will believe your story if only you had night pictures taken of your sighting otherwise I won’t believe a single word of yours , just another drama in the making. thanks

  9. June 4, 2014 9:23 am

    Reblogged this on Iain Hall's SANDPIT and commented:
    An interesting post about a possible sighting of MH370 of course there is no way of know for sure and I appreciate the author’s reticence in telling anyone about this but in the search for anything that is lost every tiny bit of information may well be the thing that will make the lost found.
    Cheers Comrades

  10. Rand Mayer permalink
    June 4, 2014 11:08 am

    Kate,

    I will keep this short and sweet.

    I am a frequent contributor at duncansteel.com and jeffwise.net, two blogs presently quite active in the unofficial search for MH370. A number of the contributors to these sites (myself included to a certain degree) have been quite active is seeking additional data/information regarding the flight from Inmarsat, the Malaysian government, the UK AAIB, Boeing, etc.

    I find what you witnessed quite interesting. In brief, my personal and quite hypothetical view is that MH370 experienced a two-stage event: Phase I. an intentional diversion with human input at waypoint IGARI with an intended destination; followed by Phase II. a secondary external or internal intervention that compromised the flight deck/disabled the flight crew which led to a terminal flight trajectory without further human input (i.e., on auto pilot). From what I can discern, the aircraft exhibited two distinct behavior patterns (flight with human input and flight without), thus the needs to reconcile them with a secondary causal event/process that transitioned the aircraft from Phase I to Phase II.

    What you witnessed at approximately 18:50 UTC is congruent with a cluster of three Classic Aero satcom ‘pings’ that began around 18:25 UTC. The first ping at 18:25 has been described by many as being initiated by the aircraft and indicative of the system rebooting itself; others have indicated a turn or a drastic change in altitude. Duncan Steel some months back said that the ping cluster was indicative of the aircraft being “in some sort of distress.”

    This could be significant, if in fact the aircraft was under human navigation at the point of diversion at IGARI, after which there was some secondary causal event in the vicinity of Malaysian airspace that transitioned the (now compromised) aircraft to a terminal flight trajectory to the southern Indian Ocean. You may very well have witnessed the outcome of whatever secondary event transitioned the aircraft from its first phase (intentional diversion under human navigation) to its second phase (a terminal flight trajectory on auto-pilot without human input).

    I have a couple of questions for you:

    1. What was the relative distance (in terms of flight level disparity or other physical dimension) between the two other aircraft and the ‘burning’ aircraft that you witnessed?
    2. Did the two aircraft appear to be flying in tandem, or were they in two disparate locations on different flight trajectories?
    3. Did you hear relatively loud sounds (engine noise) from any of the aircraft?
    4. Did you detect the two aircraft making any directional changes while you were watching them, or were they on stable flight trajectories?
    5. I know you must be aware of relative motion when witnessing boats on the water and how to discern a bow light from a stern light. I know it may be difficult to recall, but could the two other aircraft ‘appeared’ to have been flying north in relativistic terms when in fact they were traveling/slowing along another trajectory?

    Finally, I would suggest that you do prepare for a level of contact from the media. I would suggest that you line up a friend working in PR to field the phone calls, if and when they come. I would also suggest that you further explore your experience of not coming forward earlier, as this is surely to be questioned, if you are indeed taken further into this matter.

    Good luck, and looking forward to hearing from you.

    I can be reached at rand(AT)quadrantasia.com

    Regards,

    Rand

  11. Rand Mayer permalink
    June 4, 2014 11:23 am

    Kate,

    The following is for your consumption only; you need not post it.

    Regardless, one question for you to consider is that you did not witness two unrelated aircraft that either did nor did not notice the burning aircraft, but in fact witnessed two chase planes. I don’t have to tell you that this would be huge, were it to be true.

    Please think carefully regarding what you saw, as you must understand that you could very well have witnessed MH370 at the critical moment in its flight trajectory. Likewise, the area where you were located is not all that well traveled by commercial aircraft, and thus the probability that you witnessed two military aircraft in the vicinity of the burning aircraft is generally higher. Not certain, but generally higher.

    Were the two other aircraft flying in relation to one another, did they appear the same or share a similar flight trajectory? This is the crux of it. There is nothing here if in fact they were two disparate aircraft not flying in tandem in any sort of way. But if they were, even if they were a kilometer or two apart, you are going to be in the hot seat.

    I would suggest that you deliberately avoid researching MH370 further, so as not to influence what you witnessed. Yes, sequester yourself, and share that you did this with your interviewers.

    Good luck, and let me know if I can help.

    Regards,

    Rand

  12. June 4, 2014 10:48 pm

    My own research has revealed that at the same time and location of this possible sighting of MH370 the following event was recorded by deep sea ocean buoys: ”NOAA data for 4 days ago shows a major disturbance of three of the buoys west of Smith Island (in the Andaman Sea – also known as the Nicobar). Displacement of the first buoy shows approximately 1500 feet (down). Weather doesn’t seem to have been severe enough to cause this type of disturbance.’ This appears to confirm such a sighting as very realistic indeed.

  13. June 5, 2014 5:04 am

    Hi Kate. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it probably is one. You were in the known vicinity of an aircraft that disappeared and if you saw a plane on fire then that would have been it.
    It must be very difficult to piece together a timeline of events so long after it happened, even with the help of your GPS. It seems to me that according to your nav data your sighting was close to 6.00 am local time, but that would be very close to dawn. I haven’t been able to find anywhere just how long into your watch that this sighting took place. Also, which local time is your GPS using? According to my world time zone chart, if your GPS is using longitude to determine local time it would be UTC + 6 hours, but if it took into account you probably being in Indonesian territorial waters then it might be UTC + 7 hours.
    Would it be possible that in fact you were on the previous similar tack when you sighted the plane, which would make the time that the aircraft was known to be around there make a better fit?
    Just the fact that you saw the plane at a lower altitude will make a big difference to estimating where it came down because of shorter range in the denser air.
    You seem to be handling things well. Hang in there.
    Regards.

  14. Phil Webb permalink
    June 6, 2014 11:23 pm

    Check out the diagram (bottom of the linked page) of the example southern tracks for MH 370 provided to the Malaysian government by the AAIB. Looks to me like all three of these tracks cross your sailing path. It is here–

    http://mh370.dca.gov.my/information-provided-to-mh370-by-aaib/

  15. Phil Webb permalink
    June 6, 2014 11:52 pm

    I meant to send this link also on the MH 370 possible flight paths (this is the one with three flight paths) this post by Dr. Kuang over on the Duncan Steel MH 370 forum–

    http://blog.sciencenet.cn/home.php?mod=space&uid=612468&do=blog&id=782828

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