Families grieve with news no passengers survived

The family of one of three Americans aboard Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 struggled to take in the news that the jet had gone down over the Indian Ocean.

Shortly after the announcement by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razar Monday morning, Sarah Bajc, the girlfriend of missing passenger Philip Wood, sent an email to journalists canceling all her media interviews and asking for privacy now.

"I need to regroup," Bajc, a business teacher in China, said in the email. "It looks like the first phase of our mission has ended. Now Philip's family and I will need some time for private grief. We will find some greater good for the momentum we have built to help the families, and to prevent something like this happening again."

She included the text message she received from Malaysia Airlines, which read, "Malaysia Airlines deeply regrets that we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board survived. As you will hear in the next hour from Malaysia's Prime Minister, we must now accept all evidence suggests the plane went down in the Southern Indian Ocean."

The family, along with those of the other 238 passengers on the plane, have been on an erratic and emotional roller coaster as they await any kind of news about the missing jetliner. The news coming from the Malaysian government, Malaysia Airlines and other countries helping in the search has often been conflicting and confusing.

Wood, 50, an IBM executive, was in Malaysia looking for an apartment for he and Bajc to move into together. He was on his way back to China to see her, his father Aubrey said.

Reached by cell phone after the news was announced, Wood's father, Aubrey, 76, said, "I just can't talk to you right now."

Last week, Aubrey Wood told USA TODAY that he was holding out hope his son was alive, but that he was entrusting a higher power.

"We're putting it in God's hands," Wood said in the interview. "I personally feel he's still alive. … We believe they're somewhere on land. And we're going to find him."

He said the family has kept strong in the face of all the uncertainty by staying together.

"I'm at peace about it," Aubrey Wood said. "If he passed on, he's with the Lord. We'll see him again either way."

The other Americans aboard were children: Nicole Meng, 4, and Yan Zhang, 2.


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