Jun 042014
 
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Photo Credit: The 41-year-old had been at sea for 13 months sailing from Cochin, India to Phuket, Thailand with her husband Marc Horn, 50, and their pet dog. Daily Mail (U.K.)

A British woman, sailing the Indian Ocean in March, believes she saw flight MH370 Boeing 777-200 falling in flames and smoke.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which is leading the search at the request of the Malaysian government, is looking at the claim from a British yachtswoman made this week, according to MSN World.

“The ATSB received… a message from a member of the public, reporting that they had seen what they believed to be a burning aircraft in the sky above the Indian Ocean on the night of the disappearance of MH370,” a spokesman told MSN World.

“That information has been forwarded to the ATSB’s MH370 Search Strategy Working Group for review.” …

Katherine Tee, a 41-year-old Liverpool resident, and her husband, Marc Horn, 50, have since re-checked their sailing logs and believe they were near one of the projected flight paths for the aircraft, now missing for nearly three months.

After confirming her yacht’s position using Global Positioning System data in recent days, the British yachtswoman said she knew she was in the “right place at the right time” and told Australian MH370 investigation authorities.

MH370’s last known position, as tracked by military radar, was roughly west of Phuket, although the search area has focused on a zone hundreds of kilometers (miles) further south.

What we know so far about MH370 search investigation? Photo Credit: The Telegraph (U.K.) [Shown below is possible MH370 flight path and Malaysian military radar known positions on March 8, 2014 at Malaysian local times: (1) 12:41 am, (2) 1:19 am, (3) 2:15 am, (4) 2:25 am, (5) 8:19 am, (6) 8:30 am; Search area on April 4 at 1,370 miles off the western Australian coast at Perth (shown in red), (7) April 5-6 Ocean Shield and Bluefin-21 search focus; Previous search areas (shown in pink); Unrelated debris fields seen March 23, 24 and 26 (shown in red dots); Individual unrelated debris spotted March 16-24 (shown in green dots)]

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Katherine Tee, a 41-year-old Liverpool resident, just came forward and filed a report with the Joint Agency Coordination Center, the Australian organization coordinating the search for Flight MH370 investigation..

The British sailor said she and her husband were en route to Phuket, Thailand, after a 13-month oceanic voyage from India to Thailand, when she allegedly observed a flaming object in the night sky.

British Yachtswoman’s alleged sighting and path taken on Yacht’s log, also shown is Oil Rig Worker’s alleged sighting (on the right), Photo Credit: The Telegraph (U.K.)

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“I was on a night watch. My husband was asleep below deck and our one other crew member was asleep on deck,” she told the Phuket Gazette.

“I saw something that looked like a plane on fire. That’s what I thought it was. Then, I thought I must be mad.”

Flight MH370 disappeared from radar shortly after its departure in the early hours of March 8. An international search has yet to turn up any evidence of where the Boeing 777-200 airliner, with 239 passengers and crew on board, might have fallen in the southern Indian Ocean on the morning of March 8.

“It caught my attention because I had never seen a plane with orange lights before, so I wondered what they were,” Katherine Tee said.

“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.”

Tee also reported seeing two other nearby planes, and she assumed those aircraft would have reported any emergency “May-Day” call from a possible chaotic crisis safety mishap aboard what she now believes was flight MH370.

“There were two other planes passing well above it — moving the other way — at that time. They had normal navigation lights. 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. It was approaching to cross behind our stern from the north. When I checked again later, it had moved across the stern and was moving away to the south.”

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Photo Credit: Katherine Tee and husband Marc Horn, Daily Mail (U.K.)

Tee and her husband arrived in Phuket on March 10 and only then did she begin to realize the significance of what she might have seen.

Tee was slow to report the sighting, because she could not recall the exact time her sighting took place during her voyage in the southern Indian Ocean.

“I wasn’t sure of the date or time [of the possible sighting of the Boeing 777-200 falling on fire into the sea]. I am still not,” Tee said.

“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 Boeing 777-200 airliner’s] GPS log, which I assumed was automatically transmitted, or something like that.”

The circumnavigator of the world’s oceanic corridors remains pretty sure of what she visually spotted falling in the sky above the sea where she sailed that early morning on March 8.

“’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,” said Tee.

“I didn’t even consider putting out a May-Day at the time. Imagine what an idiot I would have looked like if I was mistaken, and I believed I was. So I dismissed it, and got on with the business of fixing myself and my marriage.”

Not until this past weekend was when Tee and her husband filed a report with the Australian Joint Agency Coordination Center, the Australian organization coordinating the search for Flight MH370.

Tee said she regrets not speaking up much earlier then now.

“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,” Tee said.

“Maybe I should have had a little more confidence in myself. I am sorry I didn’t take action sooner.”

Referring back to my recent LinkedIn Pulse Airlines & Aviation article, Five-Year Anniversary of AF447: MH370 Déjà vu? on June 2, 2014 — experts, like myself, are beginning to slowly resign ourselves to the possibility that when or if a ‘black-box’ surfaces from MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean, human factors errors will indeed be the cause of the Boeing 777-200 loss, during the early morning hours of March 8, 2014. Just as much as human factors errors are attributed to the loss of the Airbus 330-200, during the early morning hours of June 1, 2009.

Remarkably poignant pilot last words conveyed from MH370 and AF447 cockpit voice transcripts to air traffic control are forever etched into our minds. Both of these final cockpit transmissions convey so much about human judgement inside an airliner cockpit during a crisis and what really happened on-board.

In both aviation safety mishaps, cautiously, I surmise what happened was nothing short of chaos.

Could Katherine Tee have actually witnessed such chaos ensuing upon the fate of MH370?

What do you think?

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