Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: 'Daddy went away and he got lost...' - Relatives of the 239 passengers speak of their anguish


They were sons, daughters, husbands and wives. Some looking for a new start, others returning home.

The disappearance a week ago of Flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with its 239 passengers has prompted theories worldwide in an attempt to explain how a laden 250-ton Boeing 777 can vanish without a trace. But in some 14 countries, the friends and families of the passengers on board last Saturday have endured eight nights of expectations raised and dashed. First, they were warned to expect the worst. Then, hopes were raised by the failure to find wreckage of a downed airliner. Every piece of information, press conference or interview brings fresh anguish for family members desperate to see a positive outcome.

Norli Akmar Hamid, 33, and her husband Razahan Zamani, 24, from Malaysia, met at Aeon, a Japanese supermarket chain in Kuala Lumpur. The sales assistant and administrative assistant were married in 2012, according to local reports, and when they boarded the Boeing 777, were on a long-delayed honeymoon trip to Beijing. A trip to the Malaysian resort of Cameron Highlands was cancelled when Ms Norli reportedly fell ill.

As the day of the flight neared, Ms Norli posted a photograph on social media of one of her five cats sitting on her suitcase. The Wall Street Journal quoted friends as saying that Flight MH370 was the first time the pair had been on a plane together.

IBM executive Philip Wood IBM executive Philip Wood Philip Wood, 51, originally from Texas, was one of three Americans on the plane and an IBM executive. He had recently been transferred to Malaysia and was excited about the new beginning, his younger brother James was quoted as saying. It was set to be his last visit to the Chinese capital, where he was living, before his relocation.

Mr Wood's partner, Sarah Bajc, 48, from Atlanta, who was getting ready to move in with him in Malaysia, said she continued to hope he would be found. "Until there's proof that Philip is dead, I refuse to believe it," Ms Bajc told NewsOn6 in Oklahoma City. "If there's anybody that could survive something like this, it's him. I mean, he's such a fighter and he has so much to live for."

New Zealander Paul Weeks New Zealander Paul Weeks New Zealander Paul Weeks, a mechanical engineer, was on the flight as part of a work trip to Mongolia. His family, including his wife Danica, three-year-old son Lincoln and 10-month-old son Jack, are based in Perth, Australia. He had reportedly taken off his wedding ring and watch and given them to his wife with strict instructions to pass them to his sons if anything happened to him. Mrs Weeks told the Sydney Morning Herald that the toughest part of the ordeal was having to explain her husband's absence to her sons. She told Lincoln: "You know Daddy has gone away... and on the way Daddy got lost."

"It's a roller-coaster ride. One moment I'm fine and the next I'm a wreck. I wish I felt I had some positivity that he was coming back," she told Australia's 9News.

The joyous nature of the plans of many of those that boarded the flight is in stark contrast to the pain now felt by those who remain.

Vinod Kolekar, 63, his wife Chetana Kolekar, 59, and son Swanand Kolekar, 23, from Mumbai were travelling to Beijing to attend the convocation ceremony of elder son Sanved, 29, who had recently completed his PhD in astrophysics.

Chetana and Vinod Kolekar Chetana and Vinod Kolekar Sanved Kolekar, the son who works in Beijing, had reached the airport on Saturday morning to receive the three members of his family.

"My parents are on the flight. They were supposed to come here at 6.30am. I don't know what happened," he told The Times of India. "They haven't given me any information, it's very difficult because I don't understand the local language."

Chinese passengers made up the bulk of the passenger list, with 153 on board. Among them is a group of 24 artists and calligraphers, and five staff, who were returning home after attending a cultural exhibition in Kuala Lumpur.

Left, Dr Yuchen Li Left, Dr Yuchen Li The group included the oldest person on board, 79-year-old Lou Baotang, whose calligraphy has been cited in reference books by many cultural institutions in China, Britain and the US, according to state media. Also on the plane with Zhao Zhao Fang, 73, a calligraphist and retired professor who had collected a number of titles for her work.

Muktesh Mukherjee, 42, an Indian-born Canadian employed by US coal supplier Xcoal, met his wife, Bai Xiaomo, 37 while on a business trip in China in 2002, according to Canadian reports. They lived in Montreal before moving to Beijing. The couple, who have two young sons, were heading back to the city after a beach holiday in Vietnam. Bai Xiaomo had posted pictures of their holiday on social media shortly before boarding their flight. Mr Mukherjee's grandfather, a former government minister, died in a plane crash outside New Delhi in the 1970s.

Chandrika Sharma (left) Chandrika Sharma (left) Yesterday, Mr Zamani's father expressed his frustration at the lack of information being provided. "They have not found the aircraft. We are sad, and we hope and pray that our son is alive and well and the aircraft will be found soon," said Zamani Zakaria. A friend of Mr Zamani's wife added: "At least we know that she was alive up to 8.11am on 8 March. Because previously I thought the plane crashed when it was lost from the radar. There is still hope."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral