Thai radar at Surat Thani spotted diverted plane flying over Butterworth


After 10 days, the Thai air force has finally revealed that its radar at Surat Thani detected a plane that diverted from its route and flew over Butterworth – although it has not yet been confirmed if the plane was indeed MH370.

Surat Thani is 258 miles away from Butterworth, which should be just within primary radar coverage.

But why didn’t the Thais check earlier? Were they not asked?

The Thais had earlier said that their radar at Hat Yai did not detect MH370.

Anyway, this latest revelation appears to confirm that the plane was indeed flying westwards.

This report from The Nation:

Missing MH 370
Thai Air Force radar may have picked up MH 370: ACM Prachin
The Nation March 18, 2014 4:44 pm

A Thai Air Force radar station in Surat Thani detected a passenger aircraft that departed from Malaysia but diverted and passed the port city of Butterworth, Malaysia, Thai Air Force’s chief ACM Prajin Juntong said Tuesday.

The aircraft could then have flown to the Straits of Malacca, the general said, adding that this information confirmed what Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak said in a press conference concerning the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines’ flight MH 370.

However, Prachin said, it has yet to be confirmed whether the aircraft detected by the Surat Thani radar station was actually the missing flight.

He was speaking as Malaysia is seeking the help of governments across a large expanse of Asia in the search for the Boeing 777, which has been missing since March 9 and had 239 people on board.

Najib said that the plane deliberately diverted from its flight path and new data showed the last communication between the missing plane and satellites, almost seven hours after it turned back and crossed the Malay peninsula.

Prachin said he would have the information handed over to Malaysian Air Force.

Meanwhile caretaker Foreign Minister Surapong Tohvichakchaikul said his Malaysian counterpart would call him to talk about cooperation in the search for the missing aircraft.

Talk about cooperation only now? Sigh.

Meanwhile, an “old pilot” has suggested that the pilot could have been heading for the nearest safe runway.

The left turn is the key here. This was a very experienced senior Captain with 18,000 hours. Maybe some of the younger pilots interviewed on CNN didn’t pick up on this left turn. We old pilots were always drilled to always know the closest airport of safe harbor while in cruise. Airports behind us, airports abeam us and airports ahead of us. Always in our head. Always. Because if something happens you don’t want to be thinking what are you going to do – you already know what you are going to do. Instinctively when I saw that left turn with a direct heading I knew he was heading for an airport. Actually he was taking a direct route to Palau Langkawi a 13,000 foot strip with an approach over water at night with no obstacles. He did not turn back to Kuala Lampur because he knew he had 8,000 foot ridges to cross. He knew the terrain was friendlier towards Langkawi and also a shorter distance.

Take a look on Google Earth at this airport. This pilot did all the right things. He was confronted by some major event onboard that made him make that immediate turn back to the closest safe airport.

For me the loss of transponders and communications makes perfect sense if a fire. There was most likely a fire or electrical fire. In the case of fire the first response if to pull all the main busses and restore circuits one by one until you have isolated the bad one.

If they pulled the busses the plane indeed would go silent. It was probably a serious event and they simply were occupied with controlling the plane and trying to fight the fire….

What I think happened is that they were overcome by smoke and the plane just continued on the heading probably on George (autopilot) until either fuel exhaustion or fire destroyed the control surfaces and it crashed. I said four days ago you will find it along that route – looking elsewhere was pointless.

This pilot, as I say, was a hero struggling with an impossible situation trying to get that plane to Langkawi. No doubt in my mind. That’s the reason for the turn and direct route.

What do you think? Does this make sense?

Please help to support this blog if you can.

Read the commenting guidlelines for this blog.
Notify of

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Simon Gunson .

Radar at Surat Thani could not possibly have seen MH370 over Kota Bharu at low altitude. For a start the maximum range of Surat Thani’s radar is 200nm and the distance to Kota Bharu is 240nm. Surat Thani Radar has an elevation of 20 feet, therefore the radar horizon to a target flying at 5,000ft is 92 nautical miles. MH370 would have to be flying at 37,000ft to be seen by radar over Kota Bharu from Surat Thani. If that were true every radar in the region would have seen an aircraft at such high altitude yet the authorities stipulate… Read more »

Simon Gunson

It can be proven MH370 did not fly west through the Straits of Malacca. If MH370 flew at below 5,000ft as claimed then the curvature of the earth from Surat Thani would place it beyond the radar horizon at Kota Bharu. Malaysia originally claimed military radar saw MH370 climb to 45,000ft then dive 40,000ft in 60 seconds (both impossible claims) and then said that MH370 flew IGARI-VAMPI-GIVAL-IGREX. Then the Malaysian Government could not produce the radar imagery to prove this. On 21 March the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing showed this image to relatives at the Lido hotel and claimed it… Read more »

Simon Gunson .

Surat Thani is beyond radar range for an aircraft low flying over Kota Bharu at 5,000ft or even 12,000ft. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure it out. Thailand is lying. The so called witnesses at kota Bharu are also lying because MH370 could not reach Pelau Perak at 2:03am as Malaysia claims, by flying at low altitude because air density limits airspeed.

It is also worth noting that MEKAR is beyond radar range from Butterworth for an aircraft flying at 29,500ft.

The entire story of MH370 flying west is an elaborate hoax.


Anil, thanks for keeping this Thai-Malaysia radar story alive. It would seem the timing and track (1) after Pulau Perak, (2) toward Andaman, until the plane (3) turns around on a straight line to west of Australia would provide crucial clues about how much human or automatic system was in control. Also it’s a mystery how the plane managed to evade the Indonesian radars, and how far west of Sumatra the plane need to be to evade radar. Also there is no report how far Thai radar was able to track it. This is important, because if the plane was… Read more »


Seems many people know about the sky but refuse to say they KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THE SEA.. In fact, scientist may know more about the space and sky than our sea. Under the water, sea commonly have multiple level of current. , Few Navy sonar capable to work properly in such condition. And current may swept debris far away from where the stuff drop. It require oceanic scientist and engineer to bring in special equipment to map the sea floor, current , gather all sort of data , in order to locate trace. IMHO, so call “search” conduct by multiple… Read more »


Mr Ong, You are entitled to stand by “the whole world never question the accuracy of ADS-B system” on the missing location” [which I agree with up top a point – within the limits of its specs and bearing in mind FlightRadar24’s own disclaimer – “The information collected and published may contain errors, due to the intrinsic limitations of radio communications (e.g. limited coverage, interference, attenuation, special weather conditions etc.), due to erroneous configuration of the ADS-B devices on board, due to negligent data entry by aircraft crew, due to erroneous position received by the aircraft GPS and due to… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon

One thing for sure that I have successfully forced US government to acknowledged that the story about MH370 flew over Andaman Sea is a mistake. My questioning about the accuracy of MH370 detection at Strait of Melacca is now proven true and correct. US alreay announced that the search operation for MH370 near India will be stop and the search efforts will be reversed to point of origin.


Ong Eu Soon spammed the site with his fabricated theories?
Why can’t he just draft a solid argument in a properly detailed message? Attention seeking?

Ong Eu Soon

FlightAware also use the same transponder of ADS-B system. It is too costly to have their individual transponders and receivers. The aviation industry use the same transponder for different data mining purpose in order to cut cost.

Ong Eu Soon

If I am not mistaken. ACARS use the transponder of ADS-B system to transmit it’s data. That explain why both systems were disabled almost simultaneously. That also explain why ACARS has nothing to publish publicly.

Simon Gunson .

Soon, the transponder was not switched off as MH370 also transmitted transponder signals between 3:48-3:51am according to Flightaware data so the explanation is more complex.

I believe a major power surge disengaged the ADS-C and logged it off with Ho Chi Minh, but the transponder was still working.

Ong Eu Soon

This Thai story finally give me the ultimate evidences to prove to the world that my assumption is correct and true! Hahahahaha! Shame to all the experts out there!

Ong Eu Soon

One lie leads to another as the liar tries to cover his lie with more lies seem to be the truth!

Ong Eu Soon

At 3.11am KLM836 was out of the ADS-B system coverage areas and it started to ping the Immarsat Satellite .

Ong Eu Soon

CES539 was at the vicinity heading to KLIA when MH370 went missing. After CES539 reached KLIA, KLM836 happened to depart from KLIA. KLM836 flew over Pulau Perak at approximately 2.34am and was near Malaysia Thai border at 2.40am. Then everything fall in place to meet the following timeline. What we know* timeline (*or at least have a separate “unidentified official” verification on from a reputable source) – 1:07 – ACARS last transmission (thru VHF) which apparently includes notation of a WP change having been entered into system since last scheduled report at 12:37 – 1:11 – INMARSAT ping would have… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon

The Thai radar probably detected CES539 and mistaken it as MH370. CES539 happened to fly at the vicinity. After that the radar mistaken KLM836 as MH370 in order to make the sequences match the timing of MH370 flew over Pulau Perak.

Ong Eu Soon

Everyone was talking about the transponder that it has been switch off. The following is what a 777 pilot said about it:
To be pedantic the 777 transponder cannot be turned off in flight from the flight deck. ie depowered with digits blank. There is no off switch, however there is a standy position which will stop it radiating. You would have to pull the circuit breaker to totally depower it. In flight on the 777 you never go to standby if you are given a change of squawk.

Ong Eu Soon

But the ADS-B system still recorded the following after the plane reached the height of 35,000ft. UTC LAT LONG GS TT FL 17:13 6.00 103.14 472 025 350 17:15 6.13 103.20 472 025 350 17:15 6.24 103.26 472 025 350 17:16 6.36 103.31 472 025 350 17:17 6.48 103.37 472 025 350 17:18 6.58 103.41 472 025 350 17:19 6.68 103.46 472 025 350 17:20 6.80 103.52 472 025 350 17:21 6.93 103.59 471 040 0 17:22 6.97 103.63 471 040 0 It show that the plane reached altitude 0. Thus it mean that the plane crashed into the sea… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon

A lot of people made a conclusion that the plane might be exploded mid air because all radars fail to detect anything after the plane reach 35,000ft.

Ong Eu Soon

The plane had ascended from 2400ft to 35000 ft and the ADS-B system and ACARS system can detect it, but failed to detect it after it descended from 35000ft. That is why the aviation experts said that both the systems were switched off. But we don’t have a clue whether our radars from both the Kota Bahru airport and the Kuala Terengganu airport detected anything or not. Too bad, our journalists and our editor don’t have the knowledge to ask anything ! So were our politicians. Please don’t treat them as Gods!

Ong Eu Soon

Not only is ADS-B system is used to locate the missing location. The aviation expert also rely on flightaware data and ACARS to see whether it is consistence or not before they made up their mind of the missing location. No one disputed the point of location where the plane seem to be in trouble. What transpired is nobody knew what happened after that as all systems failed to detect the plane. That is why they claimed that the ACARS and the transponder have been switched off. If both systems suffered from damage, the plane might still be able to… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon

If you don’t believe in ADS-B system then why complained that the transponder of ADS-B system has been switched off?

Ong Eu Soon

The whole world use ADS-B system to locate this MH370 is after they verified from past records whether the route is within the coverage areas. If you go to see the playback of past record, you realised that ADS-B system never fail to capture the journey of MH370 for crossing over to vietnam. You think that the world is as stupid or as dumb as someone who like to argue for the sake of argument.

Ong Eu Soon

If you use ADS-B for non missing plane then it is accurate. If you use ADS-B to tell where the plane actually missing, it might not accurate. If the plane flew over non-coverage areas, the plane disappeared from the screen. In the case of MH370, the whole world never question the accuracy of ADS-B system on the missing location. That is why you can’t find the plane. You must understand the weakness of the system and use it for the correct purpose. I use it to verify whether at certain time and day is there any plane flew over, it… Read more »


[In reply to “Ong Eu Soon 19 March 2014 at 7.06pm”; the “Reply” option to his posting is somehow not displayed] The ADS-B system has its valuable uses, and is accuarte / reliable within the limits of its specifications. There are many planes /airlines which use it, and many good points about it. But all that does NOT translate into how accurate and reliable FlightRadar24 is. It takes the data from all the ADS-B feeds it receives, processes it, and generates the displays. [There is some talk about Flightradar24 manipulating the ADS-B data and extrapolating using some programs.] The accuracy… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon

From 2400ft suddenly climb up to 35,000ft in 16 min

Ong Eu Soon

Flight data at

The data shown that the plane seem to spin up by a tornado. The might caused serious damage to the plane. See the sudden change in altitude and GPS position e.g. the latitude and latitude.