A ‘bright light descending at high speed’, witnessed by a man in north-west Malaysia may be the first positive clue that the missing Malaysian Airlines jet crashed into the Gulf of Thailand.
Alif Fathi Abdul Hadi, 29, says he saw the light heading towards the South China Sea at 1.45am on Saturday, some four minutes after the last radar contact with the aircraft.
Businessman Mr Alif lives in Kampung Kadok, in the far north west of the Malaysian mainland, close to the southern border of Thailand.
The light he witnessed was several miles north of the flight path the jet ought to have been on.
The Malaysian Airlines passenger jet like this one vanished, seemingly without a trace, over the Gulf of Thailand in the early hours of Saturday. It was carrying 239 people, including 227 passengers and 12 crew
Lending credibility to Mr Alif’s account is a similar claim by fisherman Azid Ibrahim, 55, who says he saw a bright light streaking overhead at 1.30am on Saturday, about 100 miles south of where Mr Alif had seen the light.
Mr Alif told the New Straits Times that the bright light was like the type that aircraft use when taking off and landing at night.
‘I was walking towards the rear of my house when I saw the light, and wondered where it was heading to,’ he said.
‘The airspace here is like a highway for aircraft and they usually travel in routine patterns.
‘However, the light I saw was moving towards a completely different direction. It was going towards the sea, near Bachok (which lies to the south of Mr Alif’s home).’
His description suggests that if the light he saw was from the doomed aircraft, it had turned north instead of continuing on its regular north-easterly flight path.
Mr Alif said the aircraft he usually sees fly across the sky for as far as his eyes could see but the light he saw in the early hours of Saturday vanished from view behind a line of coconut trees.
He thought nothing of it at the time, but when he learned about the missing aircraft MH370 the following day he lodged a report with police.
Mr Azid’s account appeared to corroborate Mr Alif’s. Mr Azid told the New Straits TimeS: ‘Usually, lights from an airplane look like distant stars at night but the one that I saw was big, as the aircraft was flying below the clouds.
‘I followed the light for about five minutes before it disappeared.’
Meanwhile Malaysia’s Acting Transport Minister Datukk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein today said he could no longer sit around twiddling his thumbs and had decided to join the search.