This morning I received a message from a friend who was travelling down to Birmingham on the train. To kill time, he was browsing The Daily Mail, and he had seen my name in today’s edition. It was a regurgitation of a load of crap that they published years ago. I gave my initial reaction to the article back then, and you can read it here: MH370: The Second Witness
I still feel now exactly as I did then. And quite frankly, I could well have been right… and the authorities have even less to go on than I have, so it’s looking more and more as though I was right. But let me be clear… I no longer believe it was shot down, whether by Americans or Chinese. But that’s what I initially thought in the months before I opened up, and believe me I was in fear of my life. I had never known paranoia like it.
But as they say, is it paranoia if they’re really out to get you?
I now believe it was a catastrophic chain of errors. I believe there was a mechanical failure. The Captain tried to divert to the nearest airport, which was Penang. It was the middle of the night, the airport was closed, and the runway lights didn’t come on.
(Yes, those of you who live under the flight path of Manchester and Heathrow might not believe this, but it is normal for smaller international airports to close at night).
[Edit: Yes I KNOW Penang was open. As an emergency airport. There would have been no scheduled landings and take offs though. And the runway lights would have been off… and should have been switched on automatically when a plane’s communication system made contact regarding their need for an emergency landing. And of course, MH370 had no comms. That was discussed in detail a while back. I can’t remember the sources though… so if you can help reference this I’d be grateful]
And nobody who was supposed to be watching for the odd stray airplane with NO communications coming at them noticed.
So the pilots tried approaching Penang. Then Langkawi. Nothing. No comms, no lights. And then they tried Phuket. And then Car Nicobar. And then Bandeh Aceh. These all had runways over a km, and long enough to accomodate a B777. It was as they were attempting to go into Bandeh Aceh that they passed us on our boat.
After that, I believe they decided to head towards Diego Garcia. At least that way the fancy military satellites might pick them up… after all, Americans are way more vigilant on night watch than Asians. Yeah, I know how that sounds, but you need to understand that the whole of the Middle and Far East is WAY more laid back in their approach to life than the West is.
Imagine… FIVE international airports with runways of at least a kilometre… probably all designated emergency landing zones, and not ONE sees this silent plane approach. Who could possibly accept responsibility for that?
By the way, when they passed us, I was DEPRESSED. At the time I was finally alone on deck… Marc hadn’t slept for two weeks, as he’d refused to let me stay on deck after our darkest fight ever… so for two weeks I was kept prisoner, effectively, in the humid cabin. After weeks of living in hell on a nightmare passage, I wa actually weighing up the pros and cons of slipping overboard.
The pros… no need for divorce. No more screaming matches. No more darkness hanging over me, pushing me deeper and deeper. The cons… the dogs would just bark as they always do if I jump in for a swim. And then Marc would wake up, and he’d just have another go at me. Plus I never have and NEVER would. That I promise.
So, quite frankly, the thought of a missile wiping us out seemed like quite a satisfactory outcome. Remember, in the distance it looked like a missile coming towards us. And having lived through times of war in the Middle East, and believing that we were actually in the midst of a silent World War III, the thought of a missile tracking over the Indian Ocean wasn’t that odd.
A graphic representation by E Fortuin of the plane I saw that night, best downloaded and viewed on a tablet in the dark, held up a little bit. A few imperfections I’d like to note: firstly I recall the plane being a uniform orange  and secondly I don’t recall seeing smoke in front of the plane, only behind it. Otherwise, it’s absolutely perfect.
So my attention was diverted to this glowing orange plane gliding towards us. It was fascinating. It was the most amazing sight I have ever seen. I was fascinated. It pulled me right out of my suicidal pit.
But I wasn’t thinking straight, and on no account was I gong to wake Marc. I was enjoying the peace too much, in my dark way. It was beautiful. And besides, if it was really an airliner in trouble, then there would be fighter jets tracking it. And there weren’t. It never once occurred to me that they might have lost a plane.
Afterwards, when we got to Phuket and I heard the news, I stirred. I told a few guys in the yacht club bar about it, and they said maybe I should report it, but at that stage everyone believed it had gone to Vietnam. When I heard it had in fact gone back to the Indian Ocean, I froze. Yes, I believed I had seen a plane masquerading as a missile, heading towards the convoy we had seen repeatedly to our South. I was petrified. I thought I had my belief that we were in the middle of WWIII confirmed. I believed I had watched 239 people burn to death on a plane, and done nothing. I was in my own hell again, deeper than I had ever experience it before.
I sank into my hammock, alone at anchor in Chalong Bay with no electric on board, and I looked out at the really bright glows off the fishing vessels every night, and replayed what I had seen. Over and over. And I died inside. I was full of guilt and remorse.
Finally I broke. I couldn’t keep quiet any more. What I had seen was WRONG. I blurted it out. And then my life became miserable again as I obsessed over it day and night for the next 5 months I tried to change the outcome. I tried to set the world to rights. I did my damnedest to help anyone who would listen find that plane. I tried to make them look in the right place. Nobody listened. Well, not anybody with resources to look where it went after I saw it. It was all a massive cover up.
But those investigators who did listen helped me to come to terms with what I had seen. I came to believe that I was not a monster guilty of negligence when I didn’t put out that Mayday call, but rather just one link in a chain of errors that led to the demise of that plane.
That event was exactly what finally set me on the path to recovery…. eight and a half years after joining the fellowship.
But the cover up. That was wrong. It’s still wrong. But I understand. Imagine the liability issues involved when NO less than FIVE airports in FOUR countries missed a plane in distress being unable to land on their runways. That’s just wrong.
Anyway, that was when I realised I really wasn’t in control. Not of anything. God had a plan, and I was unable to change anything. But I surrendered as a result. I got some Acceptance in my life. I came to believe that I would either have to accept the situation for what it was, or continue spiralling into insanity.
Then my mum got sick. I came back to the UK and nursed her till she died. Then I set about readjusting. I threw myself into my recovery, and took years to get over it. I think. I don’t think I am yet.
I still NEVER see a plane without thinking about MH370, and wondering where it went. Not one. I never board a flight without contemplating the precious fragility of life.
My heart truly bleeds for the relatives. I see them fighting still to find the truth. I sometimes feel bad that I have simply sunk into acceptance. But I do believe that nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s World by mistake. There is a reason, and I haven’t got a clue. But everything is exactly as it is supposed to be.
I have to believe that. If I didn’t I would go nuts. And every day, but one day at a time, I chose the solution rather than the problem. And I am grateful for the program of recovery that has taught me that.