Passengers of the Malaysian Airlines plane that went missing on early Saturday while flying over South China Sea included telecom executives, metal traders, beach goers, two babies, calligraphers and a Queensland couple who are empty nesters.
The Sydney Morning Herald identified the Aussie empty nesters as Catherine and Robert Lawton, 54 and 57, who are flying to different parts of the world after their three adult daughters have left home.
According to Robbie Daintith, a neighbour of the couple at Springfield Lakes, the Lawtons went on similar overseas trip the same time in 2013. He told the newspaper, "They were lovely couple who always said hello, were always happy to have a chat and always offering to help out in any way they could."
With the Lawtons are Brisbane couple Rodney and Mary Burrows. Also on the same ill-fated flight are New South Wales couple Yuan Li and Naijun Gu.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said, consular officials are in touch with the family members living in Australia of the 6 passengers and will continue to provide them with all possible consular assistance.
Besides the 6 Aussies, on board the jet were 152 Chinese, 38 Malaysian, 12 Indonesian, 3 American, 2 Canadian and New Zealander, Italian, French, Ukrainian, Russian, Dutch, Austrian and Taiwanese passengers.
Family members (L) of those onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight walk into the waiting area at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang March 8, 2014. The missing Malaysia Airlines flight was carrying 152 Chinese, 38 Malaysians, 12 Indonesians and seven Australians among the 227 passengers, the airline said on Saturday. There were also three U.S. citizens, three from France, two passengers each from New Zealand, Ukraine, and Canada, and one each from Italy, Taiwan, the Netherlands and Austria, the airline said in a statement. There were also two infants. Twelve crew members were also on the flight. Flight MH 370 operating a Boeing B777-200 aircraft left Kuala Lumpur at 12.21 a.m. (1621 GMT Friday) and had been expected to land in Beijing at 6.30 a.m. (2230 GMT) the same day. REUTERS/Samsul Said (MALAYSIA - Tags: TRANSPORT DISASTER). March 7, 2014
Relatives of the Chinese passengers gathered at a hotel in Beijing's Lido district and kept in a conference room inaccessible to media, although most of them are not inclined to talk to media.
Half of the passengers are Chinese, prompting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to convene on Saturday an urgent inter-ministerial meeting on the missing aircraft,