Missing New Zealander Paul Weeks with wife Danica.
Missing New Zealander Paul Weeks with wife Danica.

Missing plane: Dad's last text "Miss you already'

JUST before he boarded flight MH370, Paul Weeks sent a text to his wife saying she and their children meant the world to him.

The 38-year-old New Zealander had just left Danica Weeks and sons Lincoln, 3, and Jack, 11 months, in their adopted home of Perth while he headed to Mongolia to start work as a mechanical engineer.

Mrs Weeks received the text while he was waiting in Kuala Lumpur for the connecting flight to Beijing.

"It just said he was missing us already - it was just a message to say he misses us and we were his world.

"It was his dream job and he was off for 28 days for the first time, with an 11-month-old and 3-year-old. So he was going to miss us all and he was telling us he loved us."

A devastated Mrs Weeks managed to get only an hour's sleep at the weekend after discovering her husband's plane was missing.

"I'd hoped there would be news, that they would have something. We're just going through the motions now, minute by minute."

She was frustrated by the lack of detail from authorities.

"We've been told nothing, just told nothing. You know as much as we do. [Malaysia Airlines] don't know. They have nothing to tell because they don't know. They have no idea - or if they do they're not telling us a thing."

It was baffling how an enormous plane could just disappear. "It sounds crazy. You can find someone floating in the ocean but you can't find a plane. It's crazy, just crazy."

Mrs Weeks tried not to think about what could have caused the plane to go missing.

"Hopefully it was catastrophic and it just happened quickly.

"I think like everybody I just want to know what happened so I can process that information and start life.

"If it is the worst-case scenario, I have two young sons who won't have a father. I will have to be mother and father for them for the rest of their lives."

Older son Lincoln had already been asking for his dad, who had missed a planned Skype session.

"He has a map on his wall of where Daddy is - or was going to be - so for him it's, 'Where's Daddy?' He's wondering why I'm crying, why I'm upset, why hasn't Daddy Skyped."

Mrs Weeks said she and her husband had a car accident in late December that frightened them into discussing what they would do if one of them was to die suddenly.

"It made us sit down and talk through if the worst happened, which we'd never done before, what was each other's wishes.

"I can only take that and say thank God we talked about it because otherwise I'd be none the wiser. I now know what he wants me to do for the boys and I have to fulfil that."

Malaysia Airlines had offered to fly the family to Kuala Lumpur to wait for news but she refused.

"I can't go with two kids. The last thing I want to do is put my kids on a plane after losing their father.

"I'm just waiting to hear, I know they're out there searching."

Mr Weeks' mother, brother and niece had left Perth before they heard the news, to fly to Christchurch for his sister Sara Weeks' 40th birthday next week.

Last night Sara said: "It's the lack of knowing that is really hard. We're upset because we know something has gone wrong."

She said her brother was a "fantastic, wonderful man who will be missed. Terribly".

Prime Minister John Key acknowledged the "almost unbearable wait" the families of Paul Weeks and the other missing New Zealander, Aucklander Ximin Wang, were enduring.

"Not knowing what has happened to the flight and their loved ones is an awful ordeal," he said. "While they will be hoping for a miracle, they will also be preparing themselves for the worst."

No reason to fear flying

An Auckland psychologist who helps people with a fear of flying has been receiving messages from people alarmed over the Malaysian Airlines disaster.

Grant Amos runs Flying Without Fear, a programme that helps travellers anxious about flying.

"I've had emails from people who say 'I've always had a problem with flying but this aircraft accident is the final straw and I'm flying at such and such time and I need to do something about it'."

Despite people's fears of being in an aircraft crash the chances of it happening were remote. He said last year there were 11 commercial plane crashes with fewer than 300 people killed worldwide - out of total of 36 million flights, involving 3.8 billion people.

Mr Amos said: "People who do my course think they could be unlucky and die in a plane crash and I point out that they're just not that lucky.

"That was because of the odds stacked against it."

Tips

* Don't take the family to the airport. You don't need an emotional goodbye scene. Do that at home so you can start to detach and get on with the business of being a passenger.

* Put things in proportion. The most dangerous part of the trip is driving to the airport.

Source: Grant Amos.


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