Plane sightings Sightings by Kate Tee
Most of the planes Kate Tee observed on her trip were travelling from east to west and west to east, however the night of March 7 to 8 was different. The night of March 7 Kate Tee was at the helm while her husband Marc was sleeping below. They were sailing north and then east in the passage between Northern Sumatra and Great Nicobar Island, about two thirds of the way from the former to the latter. The water was dead flat calm. Their position was approximately N 6° 37.7', E 94° 26.4' (indicated precisely on the map).
At approximately 19:10 UTC Kate saw an orange speck about due north. At first she thought it looked like Mars. She watched it for 5 or 10 minutes as It approached her slowly on a due north to south course, fearing it might be a missile. As it approached she could tell it was a low flying plane that appeared to be descending. It was big and close by about 19: 20 to 19:25. Early in her observation, briefly she had had a front view of the cockpit windows which were lit, but during most of her obseration the cockpit was seen from the side. Upon reaching them the plane turned mostly west (a little south of west). The plane was glowing orange ..she had never seen anything like it before. A graphic recreation is attached. She could not see passenger windows, but she was later told she would not have been able to decipher them anyway at that distance and altitude. It had black smoke coming from the tail. She guesses that when it reached her and made its turn it was at an altitude of about 2000 or 4000 feet. At the time she had no idea what model of plane it was, but from looking at pictures of other aircraft later she believes it was a Boeing from the distinctive nose, but could not tell if it was a 777 or 737. When she went below to switch on the engine it had made its turn and was traveling south of west. At later brief observations it appeared to be traveling more southerly, but definitely west of south, which leads her to believe it made a small turn again.
She originally thought it was connected to the naval activities she believed were going on now southwest of them, and that it may have been
checking them out. Later that night after the plane had disappeared she once again saw the glow of light that may have been navy lights, but this time the glow was orange. Those were not the only planes Kate Tee saw that night. She later recalled having seen a plane flying at a very high cruising altitude on a course from due north to due south. She thought that was strange and wondered why it was headed towards the South Pole. That sighting was before the orange plane, but she was not clear on how long before...maybe 5 to 20 minutes. She says she remembered that plane after a conversation with some membes of the Independent Group jogged her memory. She has been criticized for this late reporting, but says their call was a sincere inquiry about some timing issues, and they did not push her to say or change anything, but she feels duty bound to report what she saw upon remembering.
They also suggested that the orange plane she saw could have been a P8I (a modified Boeing 737), saying India had rececently received some and might have been testing them. She believed that was possible because she could not tell if what she saw was a 737 or 777. She told them she saw no passenger windows, but they said that was not conclusive because she would not have been able to decipher them at that distance and altitude. However in response to inquiries by Jyotish Kumar, the Indian Defence Ministry (Navy) confirmed that none of their P8I s were depoyed on the nights of March 7 to 8. The letter dated June 17, 2015 is attached. Additionally Kate Tee saw two planes flying close to one another at cruising altitude, at the same time she saw the orange plane. These planes appeared to be lower than the earlier high southbound one. They were traveling from east of south to west of north. The first one was slightly higher than the other, and the second was slightly behind it and lower. She thought they were flying in tandem.
Image 5: Artist impression by E. Fortuin 2 April 2015