Family of Passenger on Lost Malaysian Flight Relies on Faith for Strength

Boeing "Dreamliner" 777

Boeing “Dreamliner” 777

The family of a North Texas man who was on board the flight from Malaysia to Beijing that went missing early Saturday morning say they are relying on Jesus Christ to hold them together during this difficult time.

The Associated Press (AP) is reporting that the family of Philip Wood, 50, an IBM executive who had been working in Beijing the last two years and was being reassigned in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is desperately clinging to hope as authorities search for clues as to what brought the airliner down over the South China Sea.

Wood visited his family in Texas just one week ago and the Saturday flight to Beijing was to be his final trip to China before his relocation.

Philip’s brother James was interviewed by the AP at his home in the Dallas suburb of Keller, Texas, and called the tragic turn of events “surreal.”

“There is a shock, a very surreal moment in your life,” Wood said. “Last Sunday, we were all having breakfast together. And now, you can’t.”

His faith is what is keeping the family together during this dark time.

“My brother, our family, we are Christians. Christ above else is what’s keeping us together,” he said.

Philip Wood was one of three Americans who were aboard Flight MH370 when it disappeared from radar screens after climbing to a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet early Saturday morning. The Boeing 777 which had taken off from the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members. The other two Americans were children – Nicole Meng, 4, and Yan Zhang, 2.

Reuters is reporting that no distress signal was sent from the lost plane which leads experts to believe an explosion or “sudden catastrophic failure” caused the plane to disintegrate in mid-air.

To date, the only clue comes from Malaysia’s air force chief who said radar tracking showed the plane may have turned around from its charted course to Beijing and was heading back when it disappeared.

More ominous clues surround two passengers who were traveling with stolen passports, leading some to question whether terrorism was involved. A senior police official told Reuters that there have been two or three incidents in the past of men traveling with false or stolen passports carrying explosives who were stopped before boarding planes at Kuala Lumpur.

Authorities have surveillance video of the two passengers and local and international agencies are working to identify them.

According to the New York Post, Malaysian Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the unidentified passengers appeared to be Asians and yet were carrying passports from Austria and Italy – a discrepancy that should have raised questions with security.

“Can’t these immigration officials think? Italian and Austrian [passport holders] but with Asian faces,” Hamidi fumed.

A telephone operator on a China-based hotline for KLM airlines confirmed that the same two passengers booked one-way tickets from Beijing to Amsterdam on Saturday.

Even more troubling is news that authorities are now saying that a check of all documents presented by passengers on Flight MH370 revealed additional “suspect passports.”

However, officials can only speculate until at least come wreckage is found.

“Unfortunately we have not found anything that appears to be objects from the aircraft, let alone the aircraft,” said Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, the head of Malaysia’s Civil Aviation Authority to reporters during a news conference. “As far as we are concerned, we have to find the aircraft. We have to find a piece of the aircraft if possible.”

A senior source said the failure to find any debris indicates that the plane may have broken up mid-flight, which could spew wreckage over a very wide area.

“The fact that we are unable to find any debris so far appears to indicate that the aircraft is likely to have disintegrated at around 35,000 feet,” the source told Reuters.

The source also likened the mysterious disappearance to that of a Pan Am aircraft over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988 that exploded in mid-air while cruising at 31,000 feet.

However, the U.S. has reviewed all imagery taken from its satellites at the time of the disappearance and found no evidence of an explosion.

Experts are calling the disappearance an “unprecedented mystery” while dozens of ships and aircraft from 10 countries continue to scour the seas around Malaysia and south of Vietnam for any clues as to what might have happened on that fateful flight.

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