DALLAS — One of the 239 passengers aboard the Malaysian Airlines flight that disappeared early Saturday had roots in North Texas.
Philip Wood, 50, who is believed to have worked for IBM in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, previously lived in Keller, Texas. The passenger manifest for flight MH370 bound for Beijing lists a Philip Wood as one of three Americans who were on board.
His ex-wife, Elaine Wood, posted a statement about her former husband on Facebook and asked for privacy.
“Philip Wood was a wonderful man,” she said. “Although we were no longer married, he is still family. His sons and I just want peace and quiet right now.”
An American embassy notified Philip Wood’s parents, Aubrey and Sandra, that their son was on the flight.
Reached at his home in Keller, Wood’s father, Aubrey Wood, told The New York Times that the family had little information beyond what has been reported in the media.
“We’re all sticking together,” he said. “What can you do? What can you say?”
Philip Wood had followed in his father’s footsteps when he joined IBM, from which his father retired, the Times reported. He previously lived in Beijing and had two sons in Texas, including one who attended Texas A&M University.
A family friend told the Dallas Morning News that Wood was in Keller last week. His mother, Sandra Wood, said she has a sense of peace after seeing her son recently, KXAS-TV (NBC5) reported.
Updates from Malaysia Airlines have been sporadic. An international search and rescue mission has so far been unsuccessful at determining the plane’s whereabouts although two large oil slicks were spotted off the southern tip of Vietnam. It’s unclear whether the slicks were related to the flight, but the Vietnamese government said they are consistent with the kind of slick that would be produced by the jet’s two fuel tanks, the Associated Press reported.
Fort Worth, Texas-based American Airlines, a partner in the oneworld alliance that includes Malaysia Airlines, said it is willing to assist in any way.
“Our thoughts are with everyone on board Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, their families and the employees of the airline,” the airlines said.
Spokesman Matt Miller said they are willing to do “anything and everything that is asked of us,” and added that team members in Beijing are ready to help.
Austin-based company Freescale Semiconductor confirmed that 20 of its employees were passengers on the flight. Of the 20, 12 were from Malaysia and eight were from China.
“At present, we are solely focused on our employees and their families,” said President and CEO Gregg Lowe. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this tragic event.”
The company will provide counselors and other professionals.
(Dallas Morning News staff writer Hannah DeClerk contributed to this report.)
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