by Scott Creighton (H/T Greg Bacon)
There is a new report out concerning the fate of missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 which has been garnering a little attention in the MSM as of late.
The report is based on the supposed eye-witness testimony of a woman named Kathrine Tee, a British “yachtie” living in Phuket, Thailand.
According to Katherine, she and her husband Marc Horn were sailing from Cochin, India to Phuket on the night Flight 370 went missing. What she claims is that she was sitting night watch on the deck of her yacht when she saw what she thought was a plane burning in the sky with a trail of black smoke following behind it. She claims, due to the direction it was moving, that it was going North to South off her stern (back of the boat)
On the night in question (7th-8th March), I was standing a night watch alone. Well, sitting, really. Watching the stars, since I had been spending the passage identifying and learning a new constellation every night. And I thought I saw a burning plane cross behind our stern from port to starboard; which would have been approximately North to South. It was about half the height of other flights which I had been gazing at during that part of the passage. Katherine Tee
She posted this story, which was the first time she told anyone about it, on a yachting website on May 31st. Her unconfirmed story was IMMEDIATELY picked up by the Phuket Gazette and they published a story about it not two days later. Suddenly her story is everywhere from the Telegraph to the New York Daily News to Fox. That’s a big difference between her “johnny come lately” story and the oil rig worker Mike McKay who immediately sent an email to his supervisor and related authorities when he saw what he thought was Flight 370 burning and crashing in the South China sea on the night in question. Very few MSM outlets reported his story.
Now let’s keep this in mind folks:
So her story is suspect at best. However, keeping all of that in mind, let’s take a look at what she actually said while pondering this: is it possible what she saw is the same thing as what Mike McKay saw? A burning Flight 370 trying desperately to make it back to Malaysia?
Let’s look at the facts.
Tee and her husband have submitted their GPS based navigational course in order to show where they were when she supposedly saw Flight 370 burning in the night sky.
Here is the chart they presented with a few inclusions I made in order to make it easier to understand and locate. At the time they were supposedly traveling in a north-easterly heading toward Phuket.
Katherine claims to have seen the burning plane off the back of her boat “heading north to south about half the altitude of other planes“. That’s important. Keep that in mind.
If we are too assume that the boat was heading toward Phuket at the time of the sighting, this is what we are expected to glean from her report; that Flight 370 was flying south just west of Indonesia in the Indian Ocean. Also important to note is that she claims to have seen two other planes, at a higher altitude, flying in the opposite direction.
According to this configuration, for some reason Flight 370 was WAAY off course Before it caught fire and burst into flames in the sky and the two planes flying in the opposite direction are also way off typical flight patterns for commercial airlines in the area and they are heading north, deep into the Bay of Bengal.
This is the story the MSM have jumped on. But let’s consider for a moment another possible tack.
What if this woman, who was sitting on the deck of the boat trying to learn constellations at night (not sailing mind you) was actually turned around? What if the boat she was on had drifted via rough seas or calm, so that it wasn’t headed toward Phuket, but instead, away from it? What does that do to her story?
Now that’s a bit more interesting isn’t it?
If this was the orientation of their boat that late evening out in the waters off Indonesia, her story just happens to coincide with that of the aforementioned Mike McKay. It also makes more sense in terms of the two other planes she saw heading “in the opposite direction” They would have either been commercial airliners on the standard flight path back to Malaysia or one could have been the “unidentified blip” that was recorded heading toward Butterworth Air Force base.
But in order for this theory of mine to work, one has to figure out if it’s even possible for someone on the water to see a plane in the sky at night so far away. Turns out… it is.
In the story about Mike McKay, someone took the time to lay out his oil rig’s position relative to the last known transponder reading from Flight 370. It closely resembles the one I tried to do long ago.
As you can see, this orientation of her vessel is rather consistent with what we know about Flight 370 and the “unidentified radar blip”. If she just assumed the vessel was heading east, then she would have reported the plane that she saw heading north to south and the two other planes heading north. But, in this configuration, it appears that what she may have seen (if she saw anything at all) was in fact Flight 370 burning in the sky on it’s scheduled flight path and the unidentified radar blip heading straight for Butterworth Air Force base.
The question then becomes, can someone see that far at night on the horizon. I believe they can.
As you can see from the diameter I drew, Mike McKay reported seeing Flight 370 burning in the sky from nearly that far away the same night.
So I looked up how far someone can see at night on the horizon.
What’s the record for visibility without help from the silhouetting effect? I think that might belong to the report of the expedition led by Korzenewsky (1923), who reported seeing snow-capped peaks of a mountain range 750 km away. Conditions were perfect: the lower atmosphere was in shadow at sunset; the peaks were quite high (4650 meters, or over 15,000 feet); they were covered with white snow, increasing their visibility; and there must also have been considerable looming to bring these distant features above the observers’ horizon. SDSU
Keeping in mind the cruising altitude which Flight 370 was at when it went off transponder communication was 35,000 ft. About twice the height of the mountain range viewed by Korzenewsky back in 1923.
750 km translates to 466 miles. If the plane was over twice as high as the mountain range, then it stands to reason that something at that altitude might in fact be seen from twice the distance. Especially when you consider it’s burning in a night sky. That puts us at about 900+ miles give or take.
Using my trusty Google map, I was able to figure out a scale for the area.
So, if my back of the napkin physics is roughly accurate, it would have indeed been possible for Katherine Tee to have seen the same thing that Mike McKay saw… Flight 370 on fire in the sky above the South China Sea where it disappeared from the radar and the ACARS system so long ago.
I’m not saying that she is right. I’m not saying that she isn’t making it up. But, it’s possible if she was confused about the craft’s orientation that what she claims she saw actually bolsters Mike McKay’s earlier statement and proves once again that the search for Flight 370 should never have left the South China Sea and it also makes it painfully clear that the plane did not run out of gas in the Indian Ocean Garbage Patch and probably downed accidentally by a military vessel in the area or one of those blips everyone keeps talking about.
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