World / Passenger Story

Passenger was on her first trip overseas

By Zhu Xingxin and Cheng Yingqi (China Daily) Updated: 2014-03-26 08:30

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"At last, they will never come back."

After 17 days of waiting, Luo Jiexiang, mother of MH370 passenger Zhang Yanhui and grandmother of passenger Yang Jiabao, sighed as tears flowed down her face.

The 68-year-old had just been informed that no one aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 had survived.

On Monday night, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that the flight ended when the plane crashed into the southern Indian Ocean. Malaysia Airlines informed the family members that none of the passengers or crew members survived. On board the airplane were 239 people, including 154 Chinese.

Since MH370 vanished on March 8, vessels and planes from 26 countries and regions had searched waters in a large area.

Luo took the earliest train to Beijing when she learned that the plane had vanished and that her daughter and granddaughter were among the flight's passengers.

In the ensuing 400 hours, she awaited any news of progress in the search, and grew anxious as it trickled in, including word that the plane's communication system had been deliberately disabled and speculation about a hijacking, sabotage, terrorism or mental problems of the pilots.

"Yang has been a thoughtful girl, but not this time," Luo said wistfully.

Yang, who had just celebrated her 26th birthday, had set out for a vacation in Southeast Asia, and it was her first time abroad.

It was only natural that Yang, who grew up in a single-parent family and migrated to many cities with her mother in her childhood, chose to spend her first overseas trip with her mother.

The last message that Yang sent on WeChat, a popular messaging platform in China, included two pictures taken on March 6, showing her wearing a red dress and standing in Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur.

Yang's friend Feng Zhiqian, now studying in France, had been praying for the safety of Yang and her mother.

"We sent messages before she went on the trip. I hope that was not the last time," Feng told China Daily shortly after the plane had vanished.

"Last year, I celebrated her birthday at her home, and we had a plan that I would be the godmother for her children in the future," Feng said.

Liu Dian, another friend, said, "I wish she were never on the plane."

Despite Monday's announcement, Yang's friends are still keeping her belongings at her rented house in Beijing, hoping against hope that she will come back.

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