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(CNN) – 239 souls, including 12 crew and 2 infants, boarded Maylasia Airlines Flight 370.
As investigators try to solve the baffling mystery of the plane's disappearance, there is the risk of not paying enough attention to the tragedy behind it all – the possible loss of human lives.
Philip Wood, an IBM executive, was a father of two.
Mohd Sofuan Ibrahim, 33, was traveling to start a new job. He posted a photo of himself on board the flight to social media shortly before the plane took off.
French students and teen sweethearts Zhao Yan and Hadrien Wattrelos, seen here on Facebook, were traveling together, returning from a trip to Malaysia with his mother and younger sister.
Paul Weeks of New Zealand was flying to a new mining job in Mongolia. He left his wedding ring and watch with his wife before boarding the plane, just in case anything should happen.
"I've got it here, I'm praying that I can give that back to him, so I can hold on to it, because there's no finality to it and we're not getting any information," Danica Weeks told CNN. "It's just blank, blank waiting and praying."
Muktesh Mukherjee and Xiaomo Bai left their two young sons with family as they embarked on a vacation together.
"They had left the two boys with her mom back in Beijing," said a friend. "He was very much in love with her. And as parents, nothing was more important to them than those kids."
A dozen crew members are also missing today. The daughter of chief steward Andrew Nari continues to tweet messages to her missing father.
"My dad must be busy serving the passengers food and drinks," she tweeted Wednesday.
Among Nari's fellow flight crew were first officer Fariq Ab Hamid, 27, and pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah. The experienced pilot is seen here, in one of many YouTube videos posted under his name, teaching others how to do handiwork.
Comments like "please come back captain!" flood the page.
With each passing hour, that cheer seems sadly impossible.