The Captain, The Crew And The Passengers Of MH370

Away from harsh speculation, theories, and rumours, we compile stories of the people onboard the MH370 flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Cover image via Yahoo! Taiwan

Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah piloted the MH370. The passionate 53-year-old pilot from Penang Free School is also an avid chef and skilled handyman.

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A tribute article, titled "Tribute: Who exactly is Malaysia Airlines Captain Zaharie Shah of MH370" has been widely shared across Twitter and Facebook since the news of the missing flight broke. The article, accompanied by pictures of the 53-year-old pilot, described the Penangite as an individual passionate about fyling.

"Even when not piloting the massive Boeing 777, he flies remote-controlled aircraft. When he was away from piloting an actual Boeing 777, he built his own simulator to practise even more. That's just how passionate he is about flying," the author of the tribute said.

When not flying his Boeing 777, he still flies a Boeing 777 at home

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According to the tribute, Zaharie was an avid chef and had uploaded several photos of the dishes he cooked on Facebook. Zaharie joined the airlines in 1981 and has a total flying hours of 18,365 hours.
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Fariq Abdul Hamid (left) co-pilot of MH370 is seen here with CNN reporter Richard Quest. Quest praised Fariq for his 'text-book perfect' landing when being filmed for a CNN program.

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Fariq, the youngest son of Selangor Public Works Department deputy director Abdul Hamid Mad Daud, has recorded more than 2,763 hours of flying time. He began his career with MAS in 2007.

Fariq Ab Hamid, 27, had recently switched to the Boeing 777-200. He landed it in a flight captured on video last month by CNN. The network was shooting video of the landing for use in a "CNN Business Traveler" program. "It was interesting to watch the way he brought the aircraft in to land," Quest recalled about the February 19 landing, which the captain described as textbook-perfect.

Apart from the two pilots, there were 10 cabin crew members onboard MH370

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The National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) has confirmed that there were 10 cabin crew members and two pilots onboard flight MH370, which lost contact with air traffic controllers early this morning. Nufam said that it had contacted some of the families of the missing cabin crew and convey the news to them.

"Our team has also contacted the family of the affected crew members, who were the operating crew onboard the flight, who informed us that they had been unable to contact their spouses on phone. "For now, our hopes and prayers go to families of those who onboard MH370. We will pray for the best," it added.

Nur Afizan Ayob, whose brother in law Junaidi Mohd. Kassim was a crew member on the flight, said the latter had been working with the airline for 15 years and had two children aged 11 and nine years with her sister Nur Azlinda.

20 top management employees of Freescale Semiconductor, confirmed to be 12 Malaysians and 8 Chinese nationals were to attend a month-long course

Among the managers onboard the missing plane was Safuan Ramlan, 33, whose wife, Jelawati Jalil, 32, was waiting at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport for news of the missing plane. Jelawati said her husband was his usual self before leaving for the airport. "There were no strange signs before he left for KLIA. He has been working with Freescale for more than five years. They used to send him abroad previously but it has been a while since his last trip," she said.
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"The entire Freescale Semiconductor community is deeply saddened by this news. The company is continuing to monitor the situation and will provide more information as it becomes available," the Austin, Texas-based firm said. Freescale said it was making counselors and other professionals available to employees as part of "around-the-clock support for those impacted by this tragedy."

Freescale Semiconductor is a global leader in embedded processing solutions, providing industry leading products that are advancing the automotive, consumer, industrial and networking markets.

One of the Malaysian passengers onboard MH370 is Singapore scholarship holder Tony Tan Wei Chew. Tony was on the way to Beijing for a holiday with his parents.

19-year-old Tan is a recent graduate of the republic's St Andrew's Junior College. Tan was on the way to Beijing for a vacation with his parents, according to his former roommate of two years and compatriot Aaron Quek. He added that Tan had two younger siblings who were not on the flight.
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Malaysia Airlines (MAS) engineer Mohd Khairul Amri Selamat was assigned to Beijing to carry out repair works on MAS aircraft but unfortunately, the 28-year-old never made it to his destination. His 60-year-old father Selamat Omar said he was expecting a phone call from his son today but got a call from MAS instead.

Schoolmates said they last saw Tan on Monday when they went back to school to receive their A-level results. Quek, who attended St Andrew's Junior College with Tan and shared a room in the school's hostel with him, said Tan did think about applying to universities in the US. Tan came to Singapore on a scholarship when he was 15, and attended Catholic High School together with Quek.

MAS engineer Mohd Khairul Amri Selamat, who was assigned to Beijing for repair works invited his family to visit his new home in Shah Alam two days before the incident but his father was busy

He said a MAS official had informed him that the plane his son was travelling in went missing and could not be located. A shocked Selamat Omar then broke the news to other family members and neighbours before they travelled from their house in Kampung Balik Papan here to Sepang.

He said Khairul, the youngest of three siblings, had called him last Thursday and invited the family to visit him at his newly-purchased home in Seri Kayangan, Shah Alam. "My son told me to bring the entire family to visit him at his new place but I informed him that I was a little busy. Khairul then told me that he would go to China this week."

"I reminded him to have a safe trip and take care of himself during his working trip to China. I could not believe my ears when told about the missing plane," he said when contacted during his journey to Sepang today. Selamat described Khairul as a very caring son, who would return to his hometown every month. "Sometimes he would make a day trip just to spend a few hours with us," he said adding that his family was still clueless on the whereabouts of his son.

Paul Weeks, 39-year-old engineer and father of two from New Zealand moved to Perth after Christchurch earthquakes. He was on en route to Mongolia for a new job.

New Zealander Paul Weeks

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His wife, Danica, told The Sunday Times newspaper she was trying to come to grips with the tragic news. The couple have a three-year-old son named Lincoln and a 10-month-old son named Jack.

The engineer was heading to Mongolia to begin a new job, believed to be with Transwest Mongolia. Danica said her last conversation with her husband was just before his flight took off from Perth on Friday and he said “you and the boys are my world, and I’m missing you already.”

Paul Weeks moved from New Zealand to Perth in search of a better life for his young family, but now hopes are dwindling that he will be found alive after the plane he was travelling in went missing.

Two teenage sweethearts, Hadrien Wattrelos, 17, and Zhao Yan, 18, are students of a French school in Beijing. They were holidaying in Malaysia with Hadrien's mother and sister.

Hadrien Wattrelos (left) and Zhao Yan are shown in a July 2013 selfie. The two are listed among passengers missing aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370

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Among the family groups on board were teenage sweethearts Hadrien Wattrelos, 17, and Zhao Yan, 18, students at a French school in Beijing who were returning from the Malaysian leg of a two-week holiday along with Hadrien’s mother and younger sister.
In December, Zhao changed her Facebook profile photo to one of her and Hadrien. He had commented: “Je t’aime,” followed by a heart, and she had “liked” his comment.

Two other passengers on the manifest, Laurence Wattrelos, 52, and Ambre Wattrelos, 14, are believed to be Hadrien's mother and sister, respectively. Ambre is also a student at the French School and Laurence is listed as vice president of the Association des Parents D'Eleves du Lycee Francais International de Pekin, a French parent-teacher organization, on that group's website.

24-year-old Firman Chandra Siregar from Medan was on his way to starting his new career at Schlumberger, the world's largest oilfield services company

Firman and his parents

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For 24-year-old Firman Chandra Siregar from Medan, Indonesia, the flight was a new chapter. In Beijing, he was to start a three-year contract with Schlumberger, an oilfield services company.

Johannes Sutrysno Pangaribuan, a former fellow student of Firman at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) said that Firman was a diligent student and was active in ITB’s North Sumatra Art Unit (UKSU). He said Firman was involved in many activities in the Electrical Engineering Union (HME). Both Johannes and Firman took the same sub-major, electrical power, as their focus of study.

Brisbane couple Catherine and Robert Lawton were reportedly on a holiday with friends Mary and Rodney Burrows. Catherine's last Facebook post said "Off to China".

Australians Catherine and Robert Lawton are among those missing

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In Queensland, the Lawtons are being described as passionate travellers who doted on their three daughters and two grandchildren. "Bobby's a very good father, such a good person," Robert Lawton's brother David Lawton told News Corp. His wife Rhonda said the couple, in their mid-50s, had planned the trip to China with their good friends the Burrows. "Cathy's last comment on Facebook was `Off to China'," she said.

Queenslanders Rodney and Mary Burrows were on board missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370

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In Middle Park, neighbours Mandy Watt and Don Stokes said the Burrows were hard-working parents of two adult daughters and a son, and had downsized just a fortnight ago. "The kids had moved on ... they're all successful, all happy. This was their time," Mrs Watt told News Corp. "I hate to use the cliche but they were soulmates."

Muhammad Razahan Zamani, 24, and his wife Norliakmar Hamid, 33, took this photo shortly before their Beijing flight. Their belated honeymoon trip was needed to recuperate from a miscarriage.

Norliakmar Hamid and her husband Razahan Zamani (right) shortly before the MH370 flight

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(Her father) said (the photo) was taken alongside two other relatives at Kuala Lumpur airport shortly before the couple left for Beijing.

Arni Marlina, 36, a family member of a passenger onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, shows a family picture on her mobile phone, at a hotel in Putrajaya March 9, 2014

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Norliakmar Hamid and her husband Razahan Zamani were among the 239 people on board flight MH370 when it vanished over the South China Sea in the early hours of Saturday. Norliakmar's father Hamid Ramlan handed out the picture as he desperately awaits news.

A relative of Norliakmar Hamid and Razahan Zamani, passengers on a missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 plane, cries at their house in Kuala Lumpur on 8 March

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Bapa Norliakmar, Hamid Ramlan, 54, berkata, anak sulung daripada empat beradik itu baru sahaja mengalami keguguran ketika usia kandungan mencecah dua bulan. "Mereka ke Beijing untuk berbulan madu sambil mengubat luka hati yang dialami akibat keguguran itu," katanya ketika ditemui Kosmo! semalam.

Former Celcom CEO, Datuk Mohamed Ramli Abbas was traveling with his wife, two daughters and sister-in-law

Modal Perdana Group chairman Datuk Mohamed Ramli Abbas, a former Celcom chief executive officer

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The wife and two daughters of Modal Perdana Group chairman Datuk Mohamed Ramli Abbas, a former Celcom chief executive officer, were among the 239 passengers on the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) MH370 reported missing early Saturday. Ramli's sister-in-law, Salmy, said his wife, Datin Biby Nazli Mohd. Hassim and daughters Maria and Dina had boarded the aircraft bound for Beijing.

Philip Wood, a Technical Storage Executive at IBM Malaysia "cared about people, his family, and above all, Christ," say his family members

Philip Wood, 50, from Texas is a longtime IBM executive

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One of three Americans aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is a longtime IBM executive who raised his family in North Texas before moving to East Asia. Wood’s ex-wife confirmed the family’s fears in a Facebook post on Saturday afternoon. “Philip Wood was a wonderful man,” wrote Elaine Wood, who still lives in the Dallas area. “Although we were no longer married, he is still family. His sons and I just want peace and quiet right now.”

Wood’s father says he was contacted by the Malaysian Embassy regarding his son being on flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. He has yet to be contacted by IBM or Malaysia Airlines, however.

There were also 19 prominent China artists on board MH370, one of whom is acclaimed Chinese calligrapher Meng Gaosheng. They attended an art exhibition themed "Chinese Dream: Red and Green Painting" in Kuala Lumpur.

Director of Art Peninsula Enterprise, Daniel Liau, recounts fondly the group of Chinese artists on board the missing MH370 aircraft whom he befriended with during their stay in Malaysia.

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Daniel Liau, who is the director of Art Peninsular Enterprise, the exhibition organiser, said he last contacted the delegation head Hou Bo when they boarded the plane on Friday midnight.

"He (Hou Bo) told me on the phone that everything was fine with them. I regret this thing happened to them. Most of them are old people and very professional. Despite their age, they stayed at the exhibition venue from 10am until 10pm and yet didn't complain of tiredness," Liau said when contacted yesterday.

Liau said he had never met the artists before but they had since become friends during the brief stay in Malaysia. "We had really good communication. I am very saddened by the incident, more so as I have a very good friend (Hou Bo) in the group. All of them are very famous in China. Some of them are national-class artists while others are provincial-level artists," he said.

The artists, from Beijing, Jiangsu, Shandong, Sichuan and Xinjiang, included notable personalities such as China Calligraphy Artists Association vice-chairman Meng Gaosheng, Wang Linshi and Liu Rusheng. Association chairman Ma Yong'an said 13 of the artists on the delegation are members of the association, including Meng.

Psychiatrists are stationed at KLIA and nearby hotels to support and help family members

Family Friend Reception Centre and Holding Area at KLIA

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Ministry deputy director-general Datuk Dr Jeyaindran Sinnadurai said the members would also be stationed at the two hotels where the families have been put up.

"The psychiatrists will work on a rotation basis. They will be replaced by a fresh team every six hours," he said. Dr Jeyaindran said the assistance involved staff from all psychiatric departments at the government hospitals in the Klang Valley.

"But only a few doctors are taken from each department as regular hospital services must not be interrupted," he said in a text message yesterday. Dr Jeyaindran noted that the team was providing psychosocial and psychiatric support to the families without charge, and that the number of doctors would be rotated based on need.

Family members of those onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 are interviewed by media at the waiting area at KLIA

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At a hotel in Beijing, a woman displays the driver's licence of a friend who may be a passenger on board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight

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Official name list of passengers and crew members onboard the flight MH370 as released by Beijing Airport

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It has been two days since Subang Air Traffic Control lost contact with MH370 that was carrying 239 passengers, including crew. Read about it all here:

Our hearts and prayers go out to all those onboard MH370 and their family members

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