SEPANG, March 11 — Sorrow reigned as around 100 Muslims, half of them flight attendants, held a special prayer last night for the safe return of the crew and passengers of missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370.
Sobs could be heard amid the hushed silence as the imam recited the closing prayer. As he finished, many broke into tears and hugged each other for support.
“When I prayed just now, I remembered his face,” Zulkarnain Mohd Refflis, 43, said of MH370 flight steward Mohd Hazrin Mohamed Hasnan (picture, bottom right).
Hazrin was a member of crew on board the Malaysia Airlines jet that disappeared in the early hours of Saturday, about one hour into its journey from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
There were 239 people aboard the Boeing 777-200 airliner, 12 were crew.
Zulkarnain, a MAS flight steward from 1996, described Mohd Hazrin as a fun guy who loved cars and motorbikes.
“The last time we spoke, he said make sure you bring your Harley,” said Zulkarnain, another motorcycle enthusiast.
Many of those present had fond memories of leading steward Wan Swaid Wan Ismail.
“Swaid and I go way back to 1992. We used to work together at Regent Hotel, he was in brasserie, I was in fine dining,” said one time housemate Jesmet Rasdee, 40.
“During weekends we would cook together, both in our shorts. If one of us was grinding the chillies, the other would do the frying,” said Jesmet, who joined MAS in 1997, two years after Wan Swaid.
Orphaned at 11, Wan Swaid was usually a quiet man, Jesmet said.
Retired stewardess Dzuriazrilla Dzulkefli, 44, said in-flight supervisor Patrick Francis Gomes had been a dear friend.
“We used to hang out together with others going shopping and eating out,” she said.
“All crew members have almost similar personalities… After we were trained in basic class, even if you were originally selfish, you would automatically become friendly and helpful,” she added.
The flight crew were brought together last night by Ismail Nasaruddin, who heads the over 1,400-strong National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam).
“From Saturday up until now, every night we have prayed and gathered, until we hear news… We are sad on behalf of family members and friends on MH370,” Ismail said.
Malaysia has roped in neighbouring countries as well as China and the US in massive search-and-rescue operations at two separate locations ― near Vietnam in the South China Sea and in the vicinity of Penang in the Straits of Malacca.