Chennai-based management consultant KS Narendran was left distraught on Saturday after a Malaysia Airlines aircraft carrying 239 people on board went missing late on Friday. Narendran's wife, Chandrika Sharma, was one of the passengers on the aircraft that was presumed crashed.
Sharma, an NGO activist, had taken the flight to attend a conference in Mongolia. Originally from Haryana and based in Chennai for the past 20 years, Sharma is employed with the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF) as an executive secretary.
Malaysia Airlines did not immediately contact ICSF or Sharma's family regarding information about the missing aircraft.
Sharma was among five Indians, including three from one family, and an Indian-origin Canadian on board the Beijing-bound Malaysian Airlines plane.
The five were identified as Chetna Kolekar, Swanand Kolekar, Suresh Kolekar, Chandrika Sharma and Prahlad Shirsatha, the Indian high commission in Malaysia confirmed.
"He (Sharma's husband) and his family are shattered. He is not in a mental make-up to answer his phone. His wife Chandrika was on the Malaysia Airlines plane that is said to have crashed," N Venugopal of the ICSF said.
Sharma was travelling to Mongolia to present a paper at a conference organised by Food and Agriculture Organisation. "Chandrika had gone to present a paper on the guidelines on the livelihood of fishworkers and sustainable fisheries," ICSF adviser Sebastian Mathew said. He described Sharma as a committed worker and a wonderful parent.
The Boeing 777-200 flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 227 passengers, including two infants, from 14 different nationalities and 12 crew members disappeared at 11.10pm on Friday.
Malaysia Airlines said the last point of contact with the plane was approximately 120 nautical miles east of Kota Baru in South China Sea.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Saturday that no sign had yet been found of the missing plane. He said search operations in an area about midway between Malaysia and Vietnam's southern coast were being intensified.
(With inputs from Sutirtho Patranobis and Agencies)