KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 1 — Sarah Bajc (BAY-jack) knows how it feels. Her partner vanished along with 238 other people when Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared from the skies last March.
When news that Indonesia AirAsia flight QZ5801 was missing reached her, Bajc was back reliving her personal tragedy.
The 49-year-old, who has become the face of the families who lost loved ones on the ill-fated MH370, told Malay Mail Online the series of mishaps cannot be explained away by coincidence.
“Now with this new flight going down, the pain has surfaced again and then all the emotional toll that comes with it.
“I couldn’t stop shaking all day on Sunday because it just brings back all the same memories. They just come back and it’s a physical reaction, you really can’t control it. It’s shock basically,” Bajc said shakily, as tears welled up in her eyes.
Could she believe it? Yes, and she was not surprised either. Even MH17 going down just months after MH370 had not surprised her.
“I know that sounds awful, but I’ve believed since the beginning that there is something deeper going on here.
“I do not believe that these are three unrelated air incidents that are just mechanical.
“There is too much evidence of there being something else going on,” she said flatly.
Less than five months after the plane carrying her partner Philip Wood disappeared, a Malaysia Airlines (MAS) plane carrying 298 people went down in Ukrainian airspace on July 17, believed to have been shot down.
The third tragedy in the series, AirAsia flight QZ5801 fell off the radar on Sunday with 162 people. Three days later, debris from the plane as well as bodies were found.
“I am not a conspiracy theorist kind of person, I mean I was a corporate executive for 22 years, I was a business director at Microsoft,” she said.
“You don’t get to that level without having your head on your shoulders.
“Now I teach A-level economics, you know, I’m a put-together person, I’ve travelled the world, I’ve lived and travelled overseas for most of my adult life but you take this sequence of the lack of transparency, then you take the circumstances with the newest jet, these sequences of circumstance that are too improbable to be coincidence”.
To back her claims, she said corruption in Malaysia, territorial conflict in the region and wider geopolitical tensions could have played a part in the disappearance of MH370.
Still, she has decided to stay in Malaysia, wanting to be at the heart of the investigations and close to where Wood and the plane had disappeared.
“It’s probably the most practical thing to do. It was also the best thing for me emotionally.”
“And so I made the decision to continue forward, it’s the plan that Philip and I had made,” she said.
Bajc said being here also gave her the chance to spend time with others in the same position.
“It doesn’t smell right and exactly what is going on, I honestly don’t know. I have no question what-so-ever that there is a cover up, at least related to MH370,” she said, adding that information has been withheld intentionally.
Her email was hacked and other families have also had their emails compromised, threats have been made against some of them, she claimed.
“My apartment in Beijing was broken into, for all I know there are bugs here, I don’t know.
“Exactly why or who or what, I don’t know,” she admitted.
“There is nothing that has been proven correct in the entire investigation, nothing, no proof,” she concluded.
Friends had told her to accept that Wood has gone and told her to move on. But she said the lack of evidence of a plane crash could mean it had been taken.
Bajc said people could still be alive as they could be valuable assets. The fact that 10 months has gone by without any negotiation claims “that we know of publicly, doesn’t mean anything”.
There are instances of hostages being held for years with no negotiation claims made against them, she added.
“It could be that the cover up is that literally they don’t know. It could be that everybody is mystified and honestly doesn’t know and really covering that up by claiming that they know where it is in the ocean.
“I just don’t believe that it’s in the ocean.
“Every expert that I’ve talked to says it’s impossible for an airplane like that to go into the ocean without debris, impossible,” she said.
Bajc said the official story has so many holes in it that “it’s impossible to believe”.
“I hear all the theories, some of them are absolutely crazy but most of them are more believable to me than the official story. So that’s why I continue to work at finding the truth,” she said, adding that now, she’s spending five to ten hours a week on finding answers.
It was not how she had envisioned life in Malaysia. It had been meant to give her a second chance at life.
Her live-in partner of more than two years, Philip Wood, was just short of 51, when he boarded flight MH370.
He had found an apartment for their new lives in Kuala Lumpur. Wood who had already started his job here in February, flew back to Beijing on March 8 to pack up his old office and to help Bajc pack the rest of their things. They were going to move to Malaysia in June as Bajc’s teaching contract in Beijing would have ended then.
Never knowing would be the thing that frightens her the most, she said.
For now she said she feels too angry to grieve and predicted more bad news ahead.
“Something else is going to happen, I hope I am wrong, of course I might just be neurotic but I think they are connected in some ways,” she said.
As for her next trip back home to Atlanta, she said her cat will be accompanying her onboard and she won’t be flying Malaysia Airlines.