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New crowd-sourced data shows Phuket yacht sighting, MH370 flight path correlate

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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New crowd-sourced data shows Phuket yacht sighting, MH370 flight path correlate | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Crowd-sourced research plotting the projected flight path of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 by using data from Inmarsat satellites may have confirmed that a British woman sailing from India to Phuket spotted the ill-fated flight over the Andaman Sea.

British sailor Katherine Tee, 41, was sailing from Cochin, India to Phuket with her husband when on March 7 she saw what looked like a plane on fire crossing the night sky, with a plume of black smoke trailing behind it (story here).

The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC), the Australian organization tasked with co-ordinating the search for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean, confirmed to the Phuket Gazette today that the crowd-sourced data is now under review by the Australian Transport Safety Board (ATSB).

imageFlight test engineer Stewart Stoddart correlated the yacht’s course and the projected flight path of MH370 by using a flight simulator and satellite data. Image: Stewart Stoddart

“The ATSB received, via the JACC, 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,” the Gazette was told by email.

“That information has been reviewed by the ATSB’s MH370 Search Strategy Working Group for review, along with a range of other material from members of the public.

“The Search Strategy Working Group is concluding its assessment of the likely flight path of MH370 and expects to publish the results by the end of this month.”

At this stage, the theory posted on the popular sailing portal Cruisers Forum (click here) is commensurate with, but does not prove, current theories suggested by expert search analysts.

Volunteer members of the public, one of them a flight test engineer who used flight-simulator software, compared the logged course of Ms Tee’s yacht SY Aaza Dana as it passed south of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and cross-correlated it with data from the International Maritime Organization navigation and communications satellite network, Inmarsat.

Inmarsat has already confirmed that according to its data, MH370 flew west over the Andaman and Nicobar Islands before making possibly two course corrections as it headed south (story here).

The Inmarsat data indicated a final “ping” – or electronic “handshake” – between MH370 and the satellite network near a “communications arc” at 00:11 UTC that led the massive international search effort to hunt the missing aircraft to deep waters in the southern Indian Ocean far off the west coast of Australia.

In publishing the Inmarsat data, however, the Malaysian government emphasized that the last handshake should not be interpreted as the final position of the aircraft due to evidence of a partial handshake between the aircraft and a ground station at 00:19 UTC.

Ms Tee provided the Gazette a copy of her report of the latest findings to the JACC (to read her report in full, click here), in which she detailed the sighting of a buoy and the glow of a “bright orange light” from beyond the horizon, which she saw after March 7.

imageAn image highlights the yacht’s course as given by GPS data and the location of the ‘bright orange light’ Ms Tee reported as glowing from beyond the horizon. Image: Cruisers Forum

“If the [projected] flight plan is correct, and I genuinely believe it is, since it illustrates exactly what I saw, and where and how the trajectory changed, then this flight headed off back over our track,” Ms Tee told the Gazette.

“That meant the plane headed towards military exercises where we had seen what we now believe to be a military convoy, and an isolated marine buoy that was either a submarine buoy or an acoustic target buoy (used for missile practice).

“Now, I know that big military convoys have excellent radar tracking systems and etc, and yet they didn’t see this and report it? I don’t believe that, and don’t understand why not.”

Following the posting of the new data, Ms Tee said she now felt some sense of relief.

“[The] flight path (now verified on a 777 simulator), and a visual illustration of elevation angles suggested by an independent investigator perfectly illustrates what I saw when I was out there,” she said.

“Thanks to the science and logic, at least I now believe what I saw. That has been painful to deal with in itself.”

— Chris Husted

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Crime

2 shot dead at Phuket Bus Terminal Saturday night

The Thaiger

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2 shot dead at Phuket Bus Terminal Saturday night | The Thaiger
PHoTO: Nashaplaneta.net

Police say 2 men were gunned down at the Phuket Bus Terminal by a colleague at the terminal along the stretch of Thepkasattri road heading into Phuket Town last night. The incident happened at about 10:15pm with the local police chief arriving along with medical staff from Vachira Hospital shortly after the incident.

60 year old Wian Iadchuthong, the alleged gunman, was waiting to surrender at the scene when police arrived. Police say Wian appeared to be drunk and told them he had a serious argument with the 2 men and decided to take their lives with the gun. Police say they found 50 year old Yod Sae Lee lying on the ground in front of a taxi service stand, badly wounded. He was given CPR before being rushed to Vachira Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

54 year old Prakob Chuthong was also found lying dead by the counter of a 24 hour car park service kiosk. Police say he had been shot 2 times, once in the left side of his head and once in his left rib cage, according to Bangkok Post.

Witnesses say before the shooting, Wian was quietly drinking alone. But after getting drunk, he walked to the counter of the car park service kiosk and allegedly fired 2 shots from a 9mm gun at point-blank range, killing Prakob instantly. Wian then ran towards Yod, who was sitting in front of the taxi service stand. Yod saw Wian coming at him with the gun and he ran away to 1 side of the terminal building, only to be intercepted by Wian who allegedly fired 5 shots. Yod was hit 1 time in the head, 2 times in the torso and 2 times in the legs. Yod was also rushed to Vachira Hospital where he later died.

An initial police investigation found that the 3 were close colleagues at the workplace, but often engaged in heated fights over motorcycle taxi and taxi services at the bus terminal.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Tourism

Phuket lifts mandatory quarantine restrictions for ‘high risk’ arrivals. But were they ever applied?

The Thaiger

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Phuket lifts mandatory quarantine restrictions for ‘high risk’ arrivals. But were they ever applied? | The Thaiger

Culminating 2 weeks of mass confusion over the apparent mandatory self-quarantine for arrivals to Phuket from Bangkok and other high risk provinces, Phuket’s provincial communicable disease committee has agreed to lift the mandatory 14 day quarantine “to help boost the local economy hit by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

But for the vast majority of arrivals from Bangkok (DMK and BKK) to Phuket there wasn’t even any mention of quarantine. Over the past 2 weeks, since Phuket’s Governor released a 3 page announcement about new restrictions for the island, people have mostly been coming and going as usual. The only additional impediments were all arrivees having to download and fill in the Mor Chana app and registering with gophuget.com.

In 2 weeks not a single person has reported to The Thaiger that they had been forced to self-quarantine. Last night, when checking in at Suvarnabhumi airport for a Thai VietJet flight to Phuket, the person at the Check-In counter told the passenger (we’ll call them Mic to protect their identity) they would have to serve 14 days in state quarantine upon arrival in Phuket. Mic, surprised, asked for some sort of confirmation of this from airline management or information from the Phuket Provisional officials. None was forthcoming. Nothing more was said or communicated to the passengers.

When the plane landed in Phuket officials checked that passengers had completed the Mor Chana app and scanned their phones after they’d completed the gophuget.com registration. And that was it. No mention of quarantine.

The situation has been repeated by other Thaiger staff over the past 2 weeks as well, but without any mention of quarantine during the check-in or boarding procedures with various airlines. In all cases they flew from Suvarnabhumi or Don Mueang airports.

Phuket’s Governor Narong Woonciew says the decision to ease the Covid-19 restrictions for visitors followed calls from the business community seeking to lure visitors to Phuket. (The Thaiger wonders if any of these officials had actually travelled over the past 2 weeks)

Local businesses met with provincial authorities on Friday proposing an end to the mandatory quarantine period “for people travelling from certain high-risk areas” in the hope of “stimulating the tourism industry”. The proposal was less about stimulating and more about raising the industry from its current flatline.

But whatever mandatory quarantine they were asking to be lifted appears to be have been, at best, loosely applied anyway.

Phuket has has a triple hit. The first when the borders were closed in April and the international airport closed. The second was when December arrived, the start of the busy tourist high-season. The third was the new restrictions added 2 weeks ago in response to the 2nd wave of clusters that started on December 20, tripling the total number of Covid infections in the country in just over a month.

According to Bangkok Post, Sarayuth Mallum, president of the Phuket travel industry council, says… “strict disease control measures remain necessary to protect local people and tourists from contracting the virus”.

Somehow, the mandatory quarantine requirement instructions never reached the airport officials. But, for now anyway, the “restrictions” have been lifted anyway. What was you experience arriving in Phuket over the past week? Were you asked to conduct a mandatory 14 day self-quarantine?

In the meantime the struggling domestic airlines have been forced to massively cancel or reschedule flights. Over the past 2 days most airlines only had 1 or 2 flights to and from Phuket and Bangkok, down from the 4 – 10 daily flights some airlines were offering.

More about the Mor Chana App here…

More about the direct effects on the island of Phuket…

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Crime

Phuket national park officer fired over peeping Tom incident

The Thaiger

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Phuket national park officer fired over peeping Tom incident | The Thaiger

A national park officer has been fired after being accused of spying on a woman in the public toilet on January 17 at Phuket’s Sirinath National Park. 28 year old Abdulrama Mahaderi, was accused by a woman named Sopita and her boyfriend Panupong Rungrueng of climbing a wall that separates the men’s and women’s sections of the toilet at Nai Yang beach in order to look at Sopita. Abdulrama allegedly also had his mobile phone in his hand.

Sirinath National Park Chief Pramote Kaewnam confirmed that an investigative committee had spoken to witnesses and determined that Abdulrama was guilty of “misbehaviour and improper actions.”

Pramote confirmed that Abdulrama’s employment contract was then terminated, effective last Wednesday, 3 days after the incident allegedly took place. On its Facebook page, the Sirinath National Park made a post about the incident.

“It has caused disgrace to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation and affected the image of the overall department.”

Sura Lertthaisong of Sakhu Police confirmed that Abdulrama would be facing charges and that he was currently investigating whether a charge of “bullying in public” under Section 397 of the Criminal Code would be appropriate.

Abdulrama had previously posted on the official Sirinath National Park Facebook page that his understanding was that no charges would be pursued by Sopita and Panupong.

“The tourists told me that they did not want to press charges. They just told me that they did not want me to do anything like this again.”

But after Panupong posted a photo of Abdulrama, detailing his alleged indiscretion on social media, others came forward with similar accusations.

“One group of women said that they were also spied on by this man on the toilet wall 2 months ago, but they did not report it and did not press charges – and the truth faded away as if nothing ever happened.”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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