Nation & World News

The Passengers On Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

By Krishnadev Calamur on March 15th, 2014

As the search continues for the Malaysia Airlines plane that’s been missing since last Saturday, we’re hearing stories about some of the 239 people on board.

There is Philip Wood, one of three Americans on the flight, who worked for IBM in the Chinese capital where he’d lived for two years. He was returning to Beijing after visiting family in Texas. Wood and his girlfriend, Sarah Bajc, were planning to move to Malaysia.

In an interview with CBS News, Bajc called Wood her soul mate. You can watch the interview below:

“We’re all sticking together,” Wood’s father, Aubrey Wood, told The New York Times. “What can you do? What can you say?”

The Associated Press spoke to Wood’s brothers, who recalled his devout Christian faith. In a Facebook post, Wood’s former wife, Elaine Wood, called him a “wonderful man” and requested privacy. They have two children, one a graduate of Texas A&M and another who attends the school.

The flight manifest gave Wood’s age as 51, though his family and Bajc said he was 50.

The other two Americans on the flight were children. Nicole Meng was 4 and Yan Zhang, 2. It’s unclear whom they were traveling with.

Also among the passengers: a group of two dozen Chinese painters and calligraphers returning home after an exhibition in Malaysia dedicated to the “Chinese Dream.” They included well-known calligrapher Zhang Jinquan, 72, and Maimaitijiang Abula, a 35-year-old artist and ethnic Uighur.

NPR’s Anthony Kuhn reported that Abula’s paintings were about Kashgar, his hometown. Anthony spoke to one of Abula’s friends who told him that the artist’s main interest, in Anthony’s words, “is capturing the colors and the textures of his Central Asian homeland on canvas.” Abula, his friend said, didn’t drink or smoke, was a Communist Party member but hadn’t completely abandoned his Islamic faith.

The Wall Street Journal has many details about the passengers, including the group of artists and calligraphers, as well as a Malaysian couple that was taking a delayed honeymoon. In a story, the BBC profiles the two Iranians traveling on stolen European passports seeking a better life in Europe, and also the U.K.-trained Chinese engineer who had taken up a prestigious position in Beijing.

Indian media have profiled the five Indian passengers on Flight 370 as well as the Indian-born Canadian who was returning to Beijing with his Chinese wife. Australian newspapers have the stories of the Australians and New Zealanders aboard the flight.

Flight 370 has 153 Chinese, 38 Malaysians, seven Indonesians, six Australians, five Indians, four French, three Americans and two people each from Canada, New Zealand and Ukraine. The two Iranians were traveling on stolen Austrian and Italian passports.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.


More Stories in News from NPR

The burned Doctors Without Borders hospital is seen after explosions in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, on Saturday. Doctors Without Borders says 12 staff members and 10 patients were killed in the attack and 37 others wounded.

Doctors Without Borders: Kunduz Airstrike Was ‘War Crime’

A hospital was hit while U.S. forces were conducting an airstrike in the Afghan city; the aid group says 22 people were killed. NATO has said that it will conduct an investigation into the attack.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Tuesday. Chaffetz says he wants to mount a challenge for the House speaker's post.

As Chaffetz Jumps In, Race For House Speaker Turns Competitive

Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz says he’s a better choice for the job than Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Flotsam In Area Where Cargo Ship Went Missing, Coast Guard Says

Authorities lost contact with the El Faro, a 790-foot cargo vessel, after it sent an satellite distress message amid hurricane-force winds and waves in the Bahamas.

South Carolina Gov.: Flooding At 1,000-Year Level

The major hurricane is likely to reach the Atlantic island of Bermuda by about midnight. Meanwhile, it is fueling heavy rain and “catastrophic flooding” in South Carolina.

Oregon Shooter’s Death Was Suicide, Authorities Say

The local sheriff, speaking at an afternoon news conference, also said that authorities had recovered yet another gun from the shooter’s residence, bringing to 14 the number of weapons linked to him.

Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments