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Missing Malaysia Airlines plane: Faces of MH370

Published on Mar 10, 2014 5:42 PM

Teenage lovers starting school in Beijing. A couple with young children waiting at home. Grandparents on vacation with their friends.

The fate of 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 remains unknown, as the search for the missing aircraft continues. About two-thirds of the passengers were Chinese. Other nationalities included 38 Malaysians, seven Indonesians, six Australians, five Indians, four French and three Americans. We look at the faces of MH370, and their stories.


The Hu family

Three-year-old Hu Siwan is the apple of her parents' eyes - judging by her mum Zhang Na's Weibo microblogging site.

Ms Zhang, 34, often updates her site with photos of Siwan and her doting father - Hu Xiaoning, 34, with affectionate postings like "Daddy, Pan Pan (Siwan's nickname) is so blissful to have you!" and "Let us live together, happily ever after!". The family of three live in Beijing. 


The top engineers

Penang-born engineer Guan Huajin, 34, who was on her way to Beijing on a business trip, is one of 20 employees (12 Malaysians and eight from China) of Austin-based technology company Freescale Semiconductor, most of them top engineers.

Their presence has sparked conspiracy theories that they used "electronic warfare weaponry" to "hide" the plane and made it invisible to radars, reported The Epoch Times. Ms Guan is married with two children, aged four and one-and-a-half years, and they live in Kuala Lumpur.


The long distance lover

He is a boy from Inner Mongolia, studying in Britain, while she is a girl from Malaysia. But no distance could keep 26-year-old Yue Wenchao away from his girlfriend, known only as Jessie.

He had just visited her in Kuala Lumpur and posted photos of him eating the premium Mao Shan Wang durian. In one of his last posts on March 7, he wrote next to a photo of her "See u in Beijing!". But his flight MH370 never arrived in the capital city of China.


Artist chasing her dream
Peers of her age may be taking it easy, but Madam An Wenlan, 65, pursued her new found passion - painting - with the zest of a teenager.

The former nurse started to take painting seriously in 2010, after she was rudely prohibited from taking photographs of a peony painting hanging in a restaurant in Hangzhou. She swore that she would one day paint something just as beautiful.

She may be a late bloomer in Chinese painting, but it didn't take long for her to catch up, reported Apple Daily Hong Kong. After a few years of hard work, she made a name for herself with her realistic portrayal of flowers like peony and plum blossom.

She was among a group of 24 Chinese artists on board MH370. They were in Kuala Lumpur to attend an art exhibition themed "Chinese Dream: Red and Green Paintings". Other artists include famous calligrapher Liu Rusheng, 77, and Mr Dong Guowei, 48, who is the chairman of Artists Association of Lishui county in Nanjing.


Two-year-old's overseas outing

It was possibly the first overseas trip for Wang Moheng, who is just shy of his second birthday. He was on a family vacation to Malaysia with his parents and grandparents to escape Beijing’s smoggy skies.

"They said to other parents at our day-care centre: 'We're getting away from the bad air in Beijing for a while'," Ms Xie Yongzhen, whose son has been a playmate of Moheng, told The New York Times.

Mr Wang Rui, Moheng’s father, worked in the Beijing office of Boston Consulting Group, an American company. The boy's mother, Ms Jiao Weiwei, worked at a Chinese software company. Her parents were also on the plane.

Other families from the day-care centre had joined the Wangs on the trip, but returned on different flights, said Ms Xie.

Their parting words to Moheng’s family in Kuala Lumpur: "See you in smoggy Beijing."


Teenage lovers heading to school

French teenagers Hadrien Wattrelos, 17, and Zhao Yan, 18, were heading for school in Beijing. They had enrolled themselves in the Lycee Francais International de Pekin, also known as the French School, said reports.

A photograph of the teenage couple was posted on Wattrelo's college page on July 29, 2013, accompanied by the words "Je t'aime" ("I love you"). Zhao responded: "Haaaaaa mon amour, trooooop mignon" ("Ha my love, too cute").

Two other passengers on the flight, Laurence Wattrelos, 52, and Ambre Wattrelos, 14, were believed to be Wattrelos' mother and sister.


Couple on vacation

Malaysian couple Norliakmar Hamid, 33, and Razahan Zamani, 24, were on their way to Beijing for a holiday to celebrate their two-year wedding anniversary.

Ms Norliakmar's brother, Mr Mohd Lokman Hamid, 31, said he learnt that the couple were on the flight from her Facebook status posted late last Friday. He told Malaysia's Bernama news agency: "I know they had been planning to go to Beijing for a holiday, especially after she suffered a miscarriage.

"I just hope that my sister and brother-in-law, as well as other passengers on board the aircraft, are safe."


Young parents on a romantic getaway

Canadians Bai Xiaomo, 37, and Muktesh Mukherjee, 42, were heading back to Beijing after a romantic beach getaway to Vietnam.

The couple, who have two young children who were not on the flight, have been living in Beijing where Ms Bai studied at Beijing Foreign Studies University.

Mr Mukherjee is listed as vice-president of China operations for Xcoal Energy and Resources, a position he had held since May 2012, according to his LinkedIn profile.

"Still adjusting to life in the Middle Kingdom", said a message on his Twitter page. Indian newspaper The Telegraph identified him as a grandson of former steel and mines minister Mohan Kumaramangalam, who served in the Indira Gandhi Cabinet.

The couple took frequent beach vacations in South-east Asia, often with their two sons. The younger one, Miles, turns three years old in May, reported the New York Times. Ms Bai's Facebook page has photographs of the boys playing in the snow outside their apartment last month. She wrote: "The first snowfall of this winter!!!" The boys lie outside smiling. They are making snow angels."


Doting grandparents who love travelling

Two Australian couples, Catherine and Robert Lawton and Rodney and Mary Burrows, from Brisbane, had been travelling on the flight together.

"Dad phoned this morning and said 'Bobby's plane's missing',"’ Mr Lawton's brother David told Australian paper, The Courier-Mail. "I couldn't believe it. I still can't believe it. We just want to know where it is, where the plane's come down, if there's anything left."

The brother's wife Rhonda said: "Cathy's last comment on Facebook was 'Off to China'."

According to friends, the Lawtons were kindly neighbours and doting grandparents who enjoyed travelling.


Similar things were being said of the Burrows.Their friends said he planned the Beijing trip after he was retrenched from his job. Ms Mandy Watt, a neighbour of the Burrows, said: "This was their time, they were all about the kids. The kids had moved on… they're all successful, all happy. This was their time."

The Burrows' son Jayden told reporters in Brisbane on Tuesday that his parents worked hard to reap the rewards of their retirement so they could travel and spend time with friends and family,  Xinhua reported.  “We dearly love and will miss our mum and dad,” he said. “The love and compassion that they shared and their priority of putting their family first will help us get through this together. We’re heartbroken this stage for their life has been cut short. “

The couple had three children and were expecting their first grandchild in April, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.


Young diplomat who was supposed to set off earlier

Mr Mohamad Sofuan Ismail, 33, a diplomatic officer with Malaysia's Ministry of International Trade and Industry, was heading to Beijing to start a three-year stint. He was supposed to leave for the Chinese capital last month, but the move was postponed to last Friday.

His father, Mr Ibrahim Abdul Razak, 75, said he regretted his son's decision to accept the posting. "I can't do anything now but pray," he said.


Engineer starting his dream job

Mechanical engineer Paul Weeks, 39, was travelling en route to Mongolia for his first shift as part of a fly-in-fly-out job for a mining and construction company, a job he was excited about.

Originally from New Zealand, he lives in Perth's north-eastern suburbs with his wife and their two young sons, aged three years old and 10 months.

"I'm taking it minute by minute," his wife Danica told reporters in Perth. "I can't think beyond the minute. I've got two young kids, and I have a three-year-old asking, 'When is daddy going to Skype?'"


IBM employee who followed his father’s footsteps

Mr Philip Wood, 50, was the only American adult on board MH370. The other two Americans were children.

The IBM employee was living in Kuala Lumpur, where the flight originated. Mr Woods, who previously lived in Beijing, has two sons in Texas. He had followed the footsteps of his father Aubrey Wood by joining IBM.

"We're all sticking together," his father told The New York Times. "What can you do? What can you say?"


Father's pride and joy

Petronas marketing manager Puspanathan Subramaniam, 34, travelled frequently for work. But when he was about to set off to Beijing on a business trip last Friday, his children cried and asked him not to go.

"My grandchildren acted weirdly and did not want my son to leave the house," his father Subramaniam Gurusamy (right), 59, told the New Straits Times.

He said two of his grandchildren hugged his son's legs and cried, not wanting their father to leave the house. "He nearly cancelled his flight but I told him to go ahead," he said, adding that the family had to rush to the airport because they were running late. "How I wish we did not make it and he missed the flight."

His final words to his father before boarding MH370: "I'll be back in a week. Then we can cut cake together for sister's birthday, appa (father in Tamil)."


Pilot who built flight simulator at home

Mr Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, captain of MH370, enjoyed flying the Boeing 777 so much that he spent his days off tinkering with a flight simulator of the plane that he had set up at home.

He had always wanted to become a pilot and joined the national carrier in 1981.

"He was an aviation tech geek. You could ask him anything and he would help you. That is the kind of guy he is," a Malaysia Airlines co-pilot, who had flown with him in the past, told Reuters.

Another pilot who knew Mr Zaharie for 20 years added: "We used to tease him. We would ask him, why are you bringing your work home."

His passion for aviation went beyond the Boeing 777. Other photos posted by him on Facebook showed he was an avid collector of remote-controlled miniature aircraft, including a lightweight twin-engined helicopter.


The big brother in the family

Co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27, was a dear big brother at home, said his younger brother Afiq, 20, who was still trying to come to terms with the news.

"This is just heartbreaking," Mr Afiq told Malaysian newspaper New Sunday Times. "I do not know what to tell you. I am not doing okay."

Mr Afiq described his brother, the eldest of five siblings, as responsible, kind and warm. He was still hoping for the best for his brother, a Langkawi Aerospace Flying Academy graduate. But as the situation grew grimmer on Sunday night, he tweeted: "I'm coming to find you, even if it takes all night."


Crew on the ill-fated flight

A collage of the 12 crew members of MH370 - with the message "Please come back", which made its rounds online. (Clockwise, from top left) MAS crew member Tan Ser Kuin, co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah, flight steward Mohd Hazrin "Rain" Mohamed Hasnan, flight stewardess Foong Wai Yeung, flight stewardess Ng Yar Chien, chief stewardess Goh Sock Lay, chief steward Andrew Nari, in-flight supervisor Patrick Francis Gomes, flight steward Junaidi Mohd Kassim, leading steward Wan Swaid Wan Ismail and flight steward David Tan Sze Hiang.


Come home, daddy

A short but heart-breaking message from the daughter of a crew member of MH370. The crew member has been identified as chief steward Andrew Nari, who is a fan of classic rock bands like Pink Floyd and Dire Straits.

But his mother, Tuai Rumah Catherine Tamoh,  has not stopped hoping to see her son despite the announcement that the plane is lost, The Star Online reports.

She said in between sobs when contacted in Kuala Lumpur that she would accept that her son had gone only if there were concrete evidence.

Nari, who is the eldest of four siblings, has two children - an 18-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy. His wife is also a flight stewardess.


His last words: "I love you"

These words will forever be ingrained in the memory of Madam Intan Maizura Othaman, 34, the wife of MH370 flight steward Mohd Hazrin Mohamed Hasnan. Mr Hazrin had missed the bus provided by MAS to pick up its employees and he had asked her to drive him to the airport. She is pregnant with their second child. Their first, four-year-old Iman, had been asking where his father was before the announcement by PM Najib Razak that the plane had been lost. 

"The following day, I told Iman that his father had gone to work and the plane that he was on had malfunctioned, so he would not be returning home as he is now in heaven," Madam Intan Maizura said. 

Others who were on the flight

Mr Liu Rusheng, 76, a calligrapher, with his wife Bao Yuanhua, 63. Mr Liu was part of a group of artists that travelled to KL for an exhibition.

Mr Ju Kun, 35, a stuntman from China who had been Jet Li's stunt double and was in Malaysia working on Netflix series Marco Polo.


Mr Dong Guowei, 48, a Chinese artist who was part of the group that went to KL.

Mr Liu Zhongfu, 72, a Chinese calligrapher, who was returning from the KL exhibition.

Ms Zhao Zhaofang, 73, a calligrapher and the dean of the Nanjing Jinling Senior Citizen University Fine Arts Department.

Mr Zhang Jinquan, 72, a Chinese calligrapher.

Mr Meng Gaosheng, 64, the vice-chairman of the China Calligraphic Artists Association, who was heading back to China with the other artists.

Mr Wang Linshi, 69, a retired civil servant and calligrapher. His wife was also on board the plane. 

Mr Yao Jianfeng, 70, another of the Chinese artists who was flying back to China.

Mr Lou Baotang, 79, a notable Chinese calligrapher who was in KL for the exhibition.

Mr Maimaitijiang, 35, also known as Mehmet Abula, an art teacher from the Uighur minority group in China, who was abroad for the first time.

Mr Zhao Peng, 25, a construction worker from China who had just finished a contract in Singapore. He was heading back to see his wife and one-year-old child.

Dr Li Yuchen, 27, a recent engineering doctoral graduate from China.

Ms Huang Yi, 30, a Chinese employee of US-based Freescale Semiconductor, who has a five-year-old daughter.

Mr Tian Junwei, 29, a Chinese national who was working in Malaysia with telecommunications company Huawei.

Mr Zhou Shijie, 64, from China.

Mr Zhou Jinling, 61, a Chinese national. 

Mr Feng Jixin, 70, from China.

Ms Gu Naijun, 31, an Australian who was travelling with her husband Carlos Li Yuan, 33, a partner with Beijing Landysoft Technology. They were going to Beijing to see their children. 

Mr Sugianto Lo, 47, an Indonesian who was travelling with his wife.

Ms Vinny Chynthia, 47, the wife of Mr Sugianto Lo. The Indonesian couple have three children.


Mr Firman Chandra Siregar, 25, an Indonesian who was supposed to start work with oilfield services company Schlumberger in Beijing. 


Mr Herry Indra Suadaya, 35, from Indonesia.


Mr Ferry Indra Suadaya, 42, Mr Herry's brother.


Mr Indra Suria Tanurisam, 57, an Indonesian who was travelling to Beijing for an exhibition.


Ms Surti Dahlia, 50, who is Dutch by marriage, but had been back to visit her family in Medan, Indonesia.


Ms Nor Fadzillah Mat Rahim, 39, a Malaysian mother of three who was on her way to Beijing for business.


Mr Tony Tan Wei Chew, 19, a student from Malaysia who was going to Beijing for a holiday with his parents. Mr Tan had just finished his A-levels at St. Andrew's Junior College.


Mr Tony Tan Wei Chew's parents, piling company owner Tan Ah Meng, 46, and his wife Chuang Hsiuling, 45, who is Taiwanese. The couple's two younger sons were not on the flight.


Mr Jesse Chan Huan Peen, 46, an engineer with Freescale Semiconductor from Malaysia. He is married with two sons.

Mr Chen Wei Hiong, 43, and his wife Tan Sioh Peng, 42, from Malaysia, were going on a holiday to China. They have two sons. 

Ms Ch'ng Mei Ling, 33, an engineer with Eastman Chemical Company from Malaysia who was to transit in Beijing to a flight to the US.

Mr Wong Sai Sang, 53, a senior marketing manager from Malaysia who was going on a business trip to Beijing. He is married with a daughter.

Ms Anne Daisy, 56, a Malaysian traning manager, who was on her way to Beijing to spend time with her air traffic controller husband.

Mr Jee Jing Hang, 41, of Malaysia. who was going on a business trip. He is married with two children aged 13 and 11. 

Ms Chew Kar Mooi, 31, a Malaysian Maybank employee on a work visit to Beijing. 

Datin Biby Nazli Mohd Hassim, the wife of former Celcom CEO Mohamed Ramli Abbas, described as a down-to-earth person. 

Ms Maria Mohamed Yunus Ramli, 32, the elder daughter of Madam Biby.

Ms Dina Mohamed Yunus Ramli, 30, the younger daughter of Madam Biby.

Ms Suhaili Mustafa, 31, an engineer with Freescale Semiconductor, from Malaysia. She is the neice of Kuching police chief Roslan Bek Ahmad.

Mr Mohd Khairul Amri Selamat, 29, an aviation engineer with a private jet company who was travelling to Beijing for a work trip. He is married with a 15-month-old daughter. 

Ms Kranti Shirsath, 44, a chemistry lecturer from India, who was en route to Pyongyang to visit her husband who is there for an NGO posting. She has two sons who live in Pune, India.


Mr Vinod Kolekar, 59, from India, was travelling to Beijing to attend the convocation of his elder son Sanved, who completed his PhD in astrophysics.


Mrs Chetana Kolekar, 55, the wife of Mr Kolekar.


Mr Swanand Kolekar, 23, the younger son of the Kolekars, an engineer in India.


Mr Nikolai Brodskii, 43, a diving instructor who is a member of a Jewish community in Irkutsk, Russia. He is married with two children. 


Mr Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad, 19, an Iranian who boarded the plane with a fake passport, leading to fears of terrorism, though it was later found to be a case of human smuggling. He was heading to Germany to join his mother and seek asylum there.


Mr Delavar Seyed Mohammadreza, 29, another Iranian who used a fake passport to get on the plane. He was reported to be heading to Sweden for asylum.