Residents of a remote atoll in the Indian Ocean claim to have seen a “low flying jumbo jet” on the morning after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished, according to a report in the Maldives paper Haveeru Daily.
Maldives, a collection of coral atolls and islets, has a population of some 400,000 islanders. Haveeru Daily is the area’s longest serving daily newspaper.
Several Maldives residents on the island of Kuda Huvadhoo told Haveeru that they saw a large white aircraft, with red stripes across it (like Malaysia Airlines planes) around 6:15 am local time (9:15 Malaysia time) on March 8.
Eyewitnesses from the Kuda Huvadhoo concurred that the aeroplane was travelling North to South-East, towards the Southern tip of the Maldives — Addu. They also noted the incredibly loud noise that the flight made when it flew over the island.
“I’ve never seen a jet flying so low over our island before. We’ve seen seaplanes, but I’m sure that this was not one of those. I could even make out the doors on the plane clearly,” said an eyewitness.
The Island Councilor of Kuda Huvadhoo told Haveeru that several of the islanders had spoken about the incident. A local aviation expert told Haveeru that the possibility of any aircraft flying over the island at the reported time is extremely low.
If true, the sighting would upend the leading theories about where Boeing 777 went after making a hard turn west into the Strait of Malaka at about 1:30 a.m. Malaysia time.
The biggest problem with the report, beyond trusting eyewitnesses, is that a final satellite communication — received from the plane at 8:11 a.m. Malaysia time (5:11 a.m. Maldives time) — placed the jet somewhere in one of two corridors that are nowhere near the Maldives.
In any case, the accounts from the Maldives are another anomaly in the search for the missing plane and the 239 people who were onboard.
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