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Families of Chinese passengers in painful wait

Friends and family members of the 154 Chinese aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, which vanished en route to Beijing on Saturday, have been left to wonder about the fate of their loved ones.

"The whole family of my pretty and delightful neighbour was on that plane," said Lu Jiang, a 32-year-old Beijing resident.

"I saw her name and the name of her husband and her one-year-old baby on the missing passengers' list. I never thought this would happen. God bless them."

Lu said she and others in her community still held hope for the passengers, because no crash has been confirmed.

"I saw her couple of days ago at a neighbour's party. She smiled and was so happy," Lu said.

"But now she and her whole family are on that plane."

A group of Chinese calligraphy artists is known to have been on board the missing plane.

Meng Gaosheng, vice president of the China Calligrapher Association, and 23 Chinese artists had been in Malaysia for an exchange programme.

"It could have been me"

"I was supposed to be on that plane," said Liu Hongwei, who said he had been invited to attend the event by his close friend Meng, the leader of the delegation.

"But I was too busy with my work," he said. "I really wanted to go. If Meng had insisted, I would have gone with him."

Liu said he felt terrible about the tragedy. News about the missing jet shocked him and gave him a shiver. "It could have been me," he said.

Li Junfeng, a friend of Liu Rusheng, another artist on the plane, said if the plane is confirmed as crashed, he'd be losing a great friend and a business partner.

"I talked to Liu before he left to Malaysia about a partnership," he said. "Now I can only hope for the best."

Wei Wei, a design architect who works at a studio in Malaysia, said he is very familiar with the flight route and has been shaken by the disappearance.

"Because of my work, I have been taking the plane and shuttling between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing for three years. I've heard of some air crash tragedies, but none of them is so real, painful, frightening and sad to me like this one," Wei told The China Daily.

"The same time, the same air route and the same flight. It feels like it happened to me."

Wei said that from today he will make sure any friends or relatives on that flight have arrived safely.

"I can fully understand the heart-breaking feeling of the relatives and friends of those passengers on board. I am feeling terrible, sad and even my body is shaking," he said.

Wang Lin said two of her friends, Song Feifei and Zhang Hua, had been on a business trip to Malaysia and had been aboard the vanished plane. She said Song and Zhang's supervisor had gone to meet with the airplane company in Beijing.

"I feel terrible about the tragedy," Wang said. "Life is so fragile. The tragedy has changed my worldview. I will cherish every day of the rest of my life, because I know the final curtain could drop at any moment."


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