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“I thought I saw MH370 on fire,’ says Phuket yachtie

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: A British sailor crossing the Indian Ocean en route to Phuket in March has stepped forward to file a report that she may have seen the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370.

Katherine Tee, 41, was sailing from Cochin, India to Phuket with her husband Marc Horn, 50, when she saw what looked like a plane on fire crossing the night sky, with a plume of black smoke trailing behind it.

Katherine, from Liverpool, was alone on deck at the time.

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

“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.

“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.”

Katherine noted that when she first saw the object, “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.”

SILENCE

Katherine kept her experience to herself. She and her husband had been at sea for about 13 months at that time, she explained, and long voyages can take their toll on relationships.

“We hadn’t spoken for about a week,” Katherine noted.

When the trio arrived in Phuket on March 10, however, they heard of the MH370 tragedy. Katherine told local yachties what she thought she saw while en route to Phuket.

“Some suggested I should say something, that [what I saw] might have been it. Most said that the flight was heading toward Vietnam. I wasn’t sure of the date or time [of the sighting]. I am still not,” she told the Gazette.

“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 plane’s] GPS log, which I assumed was automatically transmitted, or something like that.

“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.

“I didn’t even consider putting out a Mayday 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.”

DISCOVERY

However, after hearing a news report last Saturday explaining that a survey ship involved in the search for MH370 was returning to port due to technical problems, Katherine began reviewing her yacht’s log.

“The first time I told him [Marc] was after hearing the radio report. That is when we checked our GPS log and realized that perhaps I really did see it,” she said.

After Marc posted data maps of the yacht’s route across the ocean on yachting website Cruisers Forum (click here), the couple discovered that their 40-foot sloop was in the vicinity of one of the projected flight paths for MH370.

The flight path was estimated during the initial search period, after experts realized that Malaysian defense forces had ascertained a “ping” that could have been the ill-fated aircraft.

Cruisers Forum member “europaflyer” recreated a map by using Google Earth, showing the yacht’s position compared with the projected flightpath for MH370. The map showed the aircraft would have passed the yacht astern from port to starboard, just as Katherine remembered it.

“This is what convinced me… to file a report with the full track data for our voyage to the relevant authorities,” Katherine said.

Katherine and Marc on Saturday filed the report with the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC), the Australian organization tasked with co-ordinating the search for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean, and followed up with a second email to the JACC yesterday.

The Gazette has yet to receive confirmation from the JACC that the agency has received the report or any indication as to whether or not the search body will investigate any of its claims.

“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.

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

— Chris Husted

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

For travellers to Phuket, testing is out, quarantine is in

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Phuket Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong (via Facebook)

The on-again-off-again plans for testing people for Covid-19 as they arrive in Phuket will be replaced by quarantine after May 15, according to Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong’s latest announcement. In an online video broadcast last night, the vice governor confirmed the new scheme after Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew first mentioned it in an executive meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday.

There are now 25 provinces on the Phuket red zone list that they instated on April 22, with anyone arriving from those places required to have proof that they are either fully vaccinated or tested negative for Covid-19 within the last 72 hours. Without proof, people have to take a rapid antigen test to confirm they did not have Covid-19 before they would be allowed on the island. The test was first set to be 300 baht for everyone, and later controversially made free for Thai people and 500 baht for foreigners.

There had been some back and forth with budget concerns of being able to provide the mass testing and who would pay how much for continued testing. Perhaps requiring people to quarantine in Phuket is cheaper than testing them when they arrive (cheaper for Phuket officials anyway).

The original scheme was set to expire May 15, and announcements were made about extending the plan and stopping testing right away. For now, this debate seems to have settled on replacing the testing with a mandatory quarantine upon entering Phuket.

The vice-governor explained that the rapid antigen test will continue through May 14, and then starting May 15, anyone who arrives without a vaccine or a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arriving in Phuket will be required to quarantine for 14 days. They set a goal of zero new infections by the end of the next two weeks. And he stated they are committed to doing whatever it takes as “Phuket cannot continue with this risk”.

Speaking to The Phuket News… “We want to send a sign to the country that we are cleaning up our province. The 3 vice governors [in Phuket] have been ordered to take care of each district by cooperating with local administration officers as well as community leaders to do proactive screening,”

After announcing the quarantine plan for Phuket, the vice governor spoke confidently that in the near future the island will have enough jabs to vaccinate every person on the island. Religious leaders from any faith are currently being vaccinated because of their general proximity to people during religious ceremonies and practices.

Vice Governor Piyapong pled with people with the people of Phuket who were on the fence about Covid-19 vaccinations, anti-vaxxers, or those otherwise resisting getting the jabs needed to reach herd immunity.

“If you are still deciding whether or not to get vaccinated, please come to get vaccinated”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Pfizer vaccines on the way, Phuket’s July re-opening | May 7

Thaiger

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Disease Control Department back-peddled saying that that foreigners living in Thailand WILL also be vaccinated, governor of Chiang Mai is calling for the ban on dining in at restaurants in the northern city to be lifted and for eateries to be allowed to serve food on-site until 9pm, Tourism and Sports Minister insists the southern island of Phuket must record zero Covid-19 cases if a planned July re-opening is to go ahead, and 150 million baht worth of methamphetamine pills were impounded in Nakhon Phanom yesterday

 

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Phuket

We’re looking for a Video Editor/Production Assistant in Phuket

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The Thaiger is seeking a full time video editor and production assistant for a new project based in Phuket. The role is open to a Thai national but with great English skills as well. You will need to be able to work to deadlines with a crazy bunch of stressed out news hosts, guests and the rest of The Thaiger team.

You’ll also need a general knowledge of the Thai news cycle as the content will be largely centred around daily news and current affairs. Knowledge of social media, and especially YouTube, will be an advantage.

Prior work in the TV or video production industry would be a requirement; we couldn’t care less about your educational qualifications. The role would be Monday to Friday.

The work hours would be earlier in the day, probably starting around 7am. There may be some occasional travel to Bangkok involved as well. Salary would be between 30-40,000 baht per month, depending on experience with opportunities for bonuses. The initial contract would be for 3 months, renewable.

If you are interested, or know someone who could fit the job, send an email to THAIGER EDITOR at info@thethaiger.com

 

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