British Yachter May Have Seen Missing Malaysian Flight While Sailing in Indian Ocean

File photo.
Ground crew stood near a Malaysia Airlines aircraft on the tarmac at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang, Malaysia, Tuesday, May 27, 2014. –AP

A Liverpool woman who regularly uses a yacht with her husband came forward this week with a claim that she saw a burning plane in the night sky while sailing on the Indian Ocean in March, around the same time that a Malaysian jetliner went missing.

The Phuket Gazette reported that Katherine Tee, 41, was sailing across the Indian Ocean with her husband, Marc Horn, as part of a 13-month voyage when she saw the plane during a night watch shift. Her husband and their one crew member were both asleep, but the report said she remembers seeing “something that looked like a plane on fire.’’


From the Gazette:

"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."

At least two other aircraft were visible in the night sky.

"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," Katherine said.

When Tee and Horn arrived in Phuket, Thailand, a few days later, they heard the news of the missing plane, and Tee believed it might have been the same plane she saw. But the report said she still decided to keep the information to herself, assuming it would be dismissed as “unfounded’’ by authorities.

It wasn’t until last weekend, when she heard another news report about the missing plane, that she and her husband decided to review their GPS logs and file a report with the Joint Agency Coordination Center, the Australian organization coordinating the multi-nation search effort.

As it turns out, their GPS logs showed that one of the plane’s projected paths crossed directly over the area where Tee believes she saw a burning plane.

The Gazette report said the JACC has not yet confirmed that they received a report, and that Tee seems regretful. She told the paper that she feels “really bad’’ and wishes she “had more confidence’’ in what she had seen.

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