Malaysia Airlines says passengers on missing plane come from 14 countries

A delegation of painters and calligraphers, a group of Buddhists returning from a religious gathering in Kuala Lumpur, a three-generation family, nine senior travelers and five toddlers.

They hail from 14 countries, but most of the 227 passengers on board missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 were Chinese, according to the manifest released by the airline. The 12 missing crew members on the flight that disappeared early Saturday were Malaysian.

Other passengers were from India, Indonesia, Australia, the United States, France, New Zealand, Ukraine, Canada, Russia and the Netherlands, the airline said.

On Saturday, Texas-based Freescale Semiconductor confirmed that 20 employees were passengers on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Twelve are from Malaysia and eight from China, the company said.

"At present, we are solely focused on our employees and their families," Gregg Lowe, Freescale's president and CEO, said in the statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this tragic event."

The company was making counselors available with around-the-clock support for employees affected by the tragedy, the statement said.

The 154 passengers from China (including Taiwan) included a group of painters and calligraphers and Buddhists returning from a religious gathering, Chinese state media reported.

Relatives of the Chinese citizens onboard gathered Saturday at a hotel complex in the Lido district of Beijing as a crowd of reporters gathered outside.

"My son was only 40 years old," one woman wailed as she was led inside. "My son, my son. What am I going to do?"

Family members were kept in a hotel conference room, where media outlets had no access. Most of the family members have so far refused to talk to reporters.

An Austrian Foreign Ministry spokesman said a man listed on the airline's manifest is safe and was never aboard the aircraft. The Austrian national's passport was stolen two years ago, Austrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Weiss said.

Italian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aldo Amati also said no one from his country was on the plane, even though an Italian was on the manifest. Malaysian officials said they were aware of reports the Italian's passport had been stolen, but had not confirmed that.

U.S. nationals on the plane's manifest were identified by the airline as Philip Wood, 51; Nicole Meng, 4; and Yan Zhang, 2.

A senior U.S. State Department official confirmed Saturday that three U.S. citizens were aboard the aircraft. Embassy officials were trying to determine whether additional U.S. citizens were on the flight.

"We extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones of those on board Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. "Officials from the U.S. Embassies in Kuala Lumpur and Beijing are in contact with the individuals' families. Out of respect for them, we are not providing additional information at this time."

The plane was carrying five children under 5 years old, the airline said.

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