Barry Ellsworth

As speculation continues over the fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 with no concrete answers, more is being discovered about the 239 people on board.

The list of 227 passengers and 12 crew includes 14 different nationalities, with more than half – 153 – Chinese, the BBC reported Friday.

Here are some of their stories.

American Philip Wood, an IBM executive, was one of three Americans on the plane.

Wood, 50, is originally from Texas and had just been transferred to Malaysia. He is an avid traveler and was excited about beginning work in Malaysia. This was his last trip to Beijing before taking up his position in Kuala Lumpur.

Wood has two sons from a previous marriage and they are in Texas.

“We are all sticking together,” said his father, Aubrey Wood, as reported by The New York Times. “What can you do? What can you say?”

The other two Americans were Nicole Meng, 4, and Yan Zhang, 2. It was unclear who they were traveling with – parents from China, another country or with American parents with dual citizenship, The New York Times reported.

The two Iranians carrying stolen passports are almost certainly not terrorists.

Instead, Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad, 18, was attempting to start a new life in Europe and chose a circuitous route. First, Iran to Kuala Lumpur, where he boarded flight MH370, destination Beijing, and then he hoped to go to Amsterdam and finally Frankfurt to join his mother.

“His mother was waiting for him,” officials said.

Delavar Seyed Mohammedreza, 29, and Mehrdad both stayed with an Iranian in Kuala Lumpur before taking the flight.

“They were nervous,” the man told the BBC. “They were young like me. I heard them talking – they wanted to go to Europe to seek asylum.”

Dr. Yuchun Li had recently received his doctoral engineering degree from Cambridge University and had begun working in a “high-flying geotechnical position” in Berlin, the university confirmed.

He had recently married but his wife was not traveling with him.

Also on board was a group of 24 Chinese artists and five staff who were flying back home after attending a cultural exhibition in Kuala Lumpur.

The oldest passenger on board, 79-year-old Lou Baotang, was a calligraphist and his work has been included in dictionaries by many cultural groups in China.

Indian-born Canadian Muktesh Mukherjee, 42, worked for the US firm Xcoal and he and his wife Bai Xiaomo met while he was on a business trip to China in 2002.

The couple were Montreal residents until moving to Beijing, where they were returning after a holiday in Vietnam. Their two young sons were awaiting their homecoming. The couple had posted holiday pictures shortly before boarding.

“Miracles do happen,” Mukherjee’s uncle told AFP news agency. “We pray it will happen this time and Muktesh will come back to us.”