It is everyone’s worst nightmare.
But as loved ones of those on board Flight 370 struggle with shock and grief, some say their agony is being compounded by a lack of information from Malaysia Airlines.
The company has given one crucial indication – and it is not good news.
“We have communicated to the family members that after more than 30 hours without any contact with the aircraft, we believe that the family members should prepare themselves for the worst,” said Hugh Dunleavy, Malaysia Airlines Commercial Director, speaking to reporters in Beijing.
The airline insists its main focus is caring for the relatives. It says “timely information” and help including travel, accommodation and emotional support is being provided.
With hope now all but gone, faith leaders in Malaysia have been holding prayers for missing passengers, in the presence of airport staff. The families’ suffering is unimaginable but this tragedy has touched many.