‘He was the best of men’ – friends remember Sunderland graduate believed dead on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370

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RELATIVES of former Sunderland University student Huan Peen Chan who was on missing plane MH370 have been told the flight ended in the middle of the southern Indian Ocean far from any landing sites.

Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday that a new analysis by the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch and tracking firm Inmarsat had revealed that the Malaysia Airlines flight’s last position was in the ocean west of Perth.

Huan Peen Chan, 46, – known as Jesse – lived on Wearside for four years while studying engineering and computing at university.

He attended Sunderland Free Church in Stockton Road where he played the organ and piano.

Jesse met and married wife Janet in Kuala Lumpur, and the couple went on to have two children, Xanthus and Lukas.

Friend and former pastor from the Stockton Road church John Cropley, today told the Echo of his sadness.

He said: “Our worst fears seemed now confirmed. We have lost a dear friend, but although earth is now poorer, heaven is richer.

If our feelings and those of his friends here are this intense, then I cannot even begin to imagine how Janet, the boys, his sister and parents in Malaysia are feeling. Jesse was just a man but in my opinion he was the best of men, a dedicated Christian of whom the world was not worthy.

“All those who were touched by him will miss him”

MH370 went missing with 239 people on board, sparking an international hunt.

Prime Minister Razak told reporters the area where the flight ended was a a remote location, far from any possible landing sites.

“It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that, according to this new data, Flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean,” he said.

He added that Malaysia Airlines had already spoken to the families of the passengers and crew to inform them of the latest development.

“For them, the past few weeks have been heart-breaking.

“I know this news must be harder still,” he said.

Mr Razak said a press conference would be held today with further details.

The new data revealed that MH370 flew along the southern corridor where investigators had said the plane could have travelled, based on pings sent several hours after it disappeared on March 8.

Investigators had drawn up two huge search areas in two large arcs – a northern corridor stretching from Malaysia to Central Asia and a southern corridor extending down towards Antartica.