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Family Of North Texas Missing Plane Passenger Leaning On Faith

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KELLER (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – The family of a North Texas man, who is among the 239 missing passenger aboard the Malaysia Airlines flight that went missing over the South China Sea, is leaning on faith and holding out hope for good news about the man they last saw about a week ago.

Philip Wood of Keller had recently visited his family in North Texas, before planning to relocate to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  As an IBM executive, Wood had worked in Beijing for the past two years.  Saturday’s flight was supposed to be his last to the Chinese capital, according to his brother James Wood.

A photo of Philip Wood from his ex-wife's Facebook page (courtesy: Elaine Wood FB page)

A photo of Philip Wood from his ex-wife’s Facebook page (courtesy: Elaine Wood)

“This was going to be his last trip to Beijing. It just happened to be this one,” James Wood said in an interview with the Associated Press.

“There is a shock, a very surreal moment in your life,” Wood added.

“Last Sunday, we were all having breakfast together. And now, you can’t,” he said during a phone interview earlier in the day, as the family got ready to attend church. Their faith, he said, is what’s helping the family through this trying time.

“My brother, our family, we are Christians. Christ above else is what’s keeping us together,” he said.  Wood also expressed sympathy for family members of other passengers on the flight.

“We are holding out hope for a miracle…at the same time we understand the reality of the situation and trying to guard ourselves for any possibility.”

A second brother, Tom Wood, said the events have left “a real hole in our family,” but he said they aren’t giving up hope.

“You never know,” he said. “I’m not gonna close that door until we need to close it completely.”

Wood’s father says he was contacted by the Malaysian Embassy regarding his son being on flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. He has yet to be contacted by IBM or Malaysia Airlines, however.

Wood’s ex-wife Elaine posted a status to her Facebook page Saturday saying Wood “was a wonderful man. Although we were no longer married, he is still family. His sons and I just want peace and quiet right now.”

On Sunday, the Wood family released this statement:

“Philip Wood was a man of God; a man of honor and integrity. His word was gold. Incredibly generous, creative, and intelligent, Phil cared about people, his family, and above all, Christ.

Though our hearts are hurting, we know so many families around the world are affected just as much as us by this terrible tragedy. We ask for your prayers, not only for ourselves, but for all involved during this difficult time.

As a family, we are sticking together through Christ to get through this. Thank you for understanding.”

The Boeing 777-200 aircraft departed at 12:41 a.m. Saturday, and was expected to land at 6:30 a.m. Saturday. Flight controllers lost contact with flight MH370 about two hours into its journey.

A map detailing the flight path of MH370 (courtesy: Flight Aware)

A map detailing the flight path of MH370 (courtesy: Flight Aware)

The plane’s last known location was over Vietnam.

Airline officials reported that among the 239 on board, four of those are American.

Most of the plane’s passengers are from China, with additional passengers from other parts of Asia, and North America and Europe.

Malaysia Airlines has activated search and rescue teams. On Saturday, Vietnamese air force planes reported seeing two oil slicks in the ocean near over the plane’s last known location.

The U.S. Navy says it has dispatched a warship to aid in the search for a missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner.

The USS Pinckney, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, is on its way from international waters in the South China Sea to the southern coast of Vietnam to assist in the search for flight MH370.

The Pinckney carries two helicopters that can be used for search and rescue. It is expected to reach the search area within 24 hours.

Additionally, the Navy is deploying an Orion patrol and surveillance plane based in Okinawa. It will bring long-range search, radar and communications capabilities to the search mission.

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