As aircraft and ships continued to search for debris which might be that of the missing flight MH370 on Friday a Malaysian woman on a flight across the Indian Ocean claimed to have seen an aircraft in the water near the Andaman Islands on the day the jet disappeared.
The Kuala Lumpur wife was so convinced about what she saw at 2.30pm on March 8, several hours after MH370 vanished, that she filed an official report with police that very day – a full five days before the search for the plane was expanded to the area around the Andaman Islands.
News of her apparent sighting came as a blank was drawn after two days of searching in the Indian Ocean for two objects deemed by experts as possibly being from the missing plane.
But Mrs Dalelah insisted to the paper: ‘I know what I saw. I am convinced that I saw the aircraft. I will not lie. I had just returned from my pilgrimage.’
A large part of what she thought was an aircraft was submerged, she said. When she tried to tell an air stewardess what she had seen, she was told to get some sleep.
When her plane landed at Kuala Lumpur at about 4pm on that Saturday she told her children what she had seen. ‘That is when they told me that MH370 had gone missing,’ she told the paper.
‘My son-in-law, a policeman, was convinced that I had seen an aircraft and asked me to lodge a police report the same day.
‘Many of my friends on the flight doubted me at first, but they are beginning to believe me now that we know the plane (MH370) turned back and entered the Indian Ocean.’
Many will warn against dismissing Mrs Dalelah’s claims too quickly. The islands do lie across a route MH370 could have taken after radar contact was lost and it would easily have been able to reach them before Mrs Dalelah’s sighting at 2.30pm.
After its transponder was turned off at 1.21am on March 8 the plane, with enough fuel to last 2,500 miles, turned west, following an established route towards India.
An ephemeral satellite ping registered at 8.11am suggested the plane was heading in one of two directions – south to where the potential debris was spotted, or north into China and central Asia.
The Andaman Islands lie 890 miles to the north-west of Kuala Lumpur, well within range.
Officials still haven’t ruled out MH370 being found in a northerly location, with aircraft and ships renewing their search in the Andaman Sea between India and Thailand on Friday.
Source: Daily Mail (on-line)