Woman sailor Katherine Tee filed a report with Australian organisation Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) saying that she saw the missing MH370 at the very moment it was on fire up in the air.
In March, Tee was sailing from Cochin, India, to Phuket when a figure of a plane on fire illuminating the night sky caught her attention. The plane had black smoke in spiral shape trailing behind it, according to Tee's description.
Tee expressed her regret of speaking about what she saw this late, two months after the plane was reported missing.
"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," Tee told Phuket Gazette.
Tee began reviewing her yacht's GPS log after hearing a report saying that a survey ship was going back to port because of technical difficulties. Checking her GPS log side by side with data maps on route across Indian Ocean through Cruisers Forum, she realised that she had possibly saw the plane.
One member of the forum recreated a map by using Google Earth and found out that the missing plane would have passed the location of where Tee's yacht was at the time.
"This is what convinced me ... to file a report with the full track data for our voyage to the relevant authorities," Tee said.
"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," Tee recalled.
She added that there were also two planes passing above the plane, flying to the opposite direction. She remembered that the two other planes were emitting the usual navigation lights.
"I remember thinking that if it was a plane on fire that I was seeing, the other aircraft would report it. 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." Tee said.
Tee now regretted for not standing up for what she saw as soon as she came back from her sailing trip on the night of March 10. She said she was afraid that the information will be dismissed together with other reported sightings.
But now that reports of not finding the plane's debris abound, Tee mustered all courage to finally speak up.
"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.
Tee followed up her filed report with a second email to JACC on Monday.
JACC had yet to address and comment about her filing.