BEIJING - Sarah Bajc, the life partner of Philip Wood, one of three Americans who went missing when Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing two weeks ago, is a former Escanaba resident and a graduate of Escanaba High School. She spent much of her childhood in Houghton.
Since the plane's disappearance she has become perhaps the most prominent American spokesperson for family and friends of those gone missing, appearing on numerous national television broadcasts and being profiled for an upcoming People magazine feature, always holding out hope that Wood and the other passengers are still alive, somewhere.
"I still believe they'll be found," she told The Daily Mining Gazette in a phone interview from Beijing.
Photo courtesy of Sarah Bajc
Above, Philip Wood, one of the passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 when it disappeared, and life partner Sarah Bajc pose together in this undated photograph. Bajc is a former Escanaba resident and graduate of Escanaba High School.
Along with much of the world, she's waiting for information on the debris spotted in the Indian Ocean. But until evidence proves her wrong, she's considering it likely just another false lead.
"I hope and pray the debris is just junk," she wrote in an email. "I'm holding out (hope) that the plane has been taken and the passengers are alive."
Bajc was born Sarah Hamil in Utah, and moved to Houghton as a small child. She said that she attended Houghton schools through eighth grade before moving to Escanaba and graduating there. As an adult, she worked as a CEO before switching careers to teaching. As the search for the missing plane has dragged on, she has recently returned to her teaching duties at a Beijing international school.
Bajc told ABC News that Wood had been flying to Beijing on Flight 370 to help her move to Kuala Lumpur, where the two planned to begin a new life together.
Now, she's left in limbo, waiting for an answer.
"I am prepared to find him," she told ABC News. "And I am prepared to find he is not with us anymore. I am a little less prepared to not know. The risk of not knowing is what frightens me the most."
Bajc said she has her doubts as to whether all governments involved in the search for the plane have been forthcoming.
"It's truly a mystery. I think there's someone fooling us, that knows more than they're saying," she said.
She said the best way for people to offer their support was through the Finding Philip Wood Facebook page, where friends can offer support, keep up to date on search developments, and "coordinate their positive energy."
"It's helpful to the families" she said. "Lots of people go there to look for information, and there's lots of positive information."
They can also stay in touch through Twitter @FindPhilipWood, #FindPhilipWood.
Bajc said supporters can also help by joining the public satellite imagery search at www.tomnod.com