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Missing Malaysia flight 370: IBM exec was dad of 2

NEED TO KNOW
  • Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished while en route to Beijing, China, early Saturday
  • 'It's been a little bit numbing, to be honest,' said a brother of missing American Philip Wood
Missing Malaysia flight 370: IBM exec was dad of 2

Oil slick not from missing jetliner

This photograph made available by The Straits Times on March 9, 2014 shows oil slicks seen from the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) plane scanning the seas about 140 nautical miles north-east of Kota Baru, Malaysia, for any signs of the Malaysia Airlines plane which went missing.

The family of Philip Wood, one of three Americans that went missing early Saturday on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, said they're leaning on their faith as they continue an agonizing wait for answers.

Most of the 239 people on board the plane, which disappeared about an hour into its flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing, China, are Chinese. Wood, a 50-year-old IBM executive had been working in Beijing and was about to start a new assignment in Kuala Lumpur. He had just visited his family in the United States about a week earlier.

James Wood, a brother of the missing father of two, told CNN's Anderson Cooper Monday night that the family is "taking it just a little at a time."

"It's been a little bit numbing, to be honest," James Wood said. "Phil is probably one of the most intelligent guys I've ever known. ... He could just crack you up. But then he would switch over and be a deep thinker that really philosophized down deep."

Another sibling, Tom Wood, also spoke with Cooper Monday and said his brother always had good advice.

Read more: Cloudy skies: 9 mysterious plane disasters

"We'd go to him when we needed to talk about things," Tom Wood said. "We're very close and he was an incredible artist. A great father to his boys, and, you know, best friend to his sister and James and I."

Philip Wood loved traveling -- he started in his teens -- and moved from Oklahoma to Germany with his family when he was in high school, according to longtime friend Bill Goad.

"He loved the world, he loved everyone," Goad told HLN affiliate KOCO. Goad said he has known the family for 30 years and that he even taught Wood at the Oklahoma Christian University.

Wood was an "excellent student" and earned a degree in math and computer science, according to Goad.

The families of the passengers have been told to prepare for the worst as they await news on their loved ones. Even so, Philip Wood's mother told HLN affiliate WFAA on Saturday that she knows she'll see her son again.

"Do you want to know how it feels to lose a son at the age of 50?" Sondra Wood said. "It's devastating. But, I know in my heart that Philip's with God and I plan to be there with him because I have a deep faith in my God."

Watch: Vanished plane: People flock on social media

They family said it has been communicating with the State Department and the embassy in Kuala Lumpur, but that it knows about as much as everyone else following the story.

"It seems to be getting more bizarre, you know, the twist and the story where they can't find anything," Tom Wood said.

Air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane while it traveled over the sea between Malaysia and Vietnam. Malaysian military officials have said it appears that, based on radar data, the plane may have turned back but that they don't know why. The pilots didn't indicate there were any problems and they never issued a distress signal.

Two tickets for the flight were bought by men who used stolen passports. The head of Interpol, the international police organization, said Tuesday that the flight's disappearance does not appear to be related to terrorism. The Central Intelligence Agency, however, said Tuesday that it wouldn't rule out terrorism as a cause of the missing flight.

Families have reported that their loved ones' cell phones continue to ring when called, but mobile experts tell CNN that could easily be a function of the call-forwarding systems on those phones; it doesn't necessarily mean the phones aren't submerged in water.

Even though search teams have been scouring tens of thousands of square miles of sea around the area where the plane was last detected, it could take days, months or even years for them to find any clues as to what happened.

In the case of Air France Flight 447, which disappeared over the Atlantic in 2009, it took five days to find the first floating wreckage. Investigators needed almost two more years to find the bulk of the wrecked plane along with the majority of the bodies of those on board.

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