3 Filipino senior citizens missing after flight layover in China: kin

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 18 2019 01:37 PM | Updated as of Aug 19 2019 10:02 AM

MANILA -- Three retired public school teachers have been missing for a week after a flight layover in China, a relative said Sunday. 

Pacita de Guzman, 77, Erlinda Varela Guce, 72, and Josefina Varela Baysic, 70, were supposed to return to Manila last August 10 after a 5-month vacation in the US, said their nephew Florence Guce. 

From New York, the 3 boarded China Eastern Airlines flight MU211 and were supposed to transfer to a connecting flight to the Philippines at the Pudong International Airport in Shanghai.

But on August 11, Linda Guce used the Viber account of a fellow passenger and Filipino identified only as "Alzor" to inform relatives that their connecting flight was cancelled due to a typhoon that lashed China, said Florence. 

Florence said relatives called Alzor the next day to get updates, but he told them that he was no longer with the 3 senior citizens and he does not know the hotel where they were booked. 

The trio's family sought but failed to get details on their whereabouts from China Eastern Airlines' Makati office, Florence said. 

On August 15, the retired teachers' relatives called the Philippine Consulate in Shanghai, which told them that the local police were searching for the 3 women who had been tagged as missing by immigration authorities. 

On Saturday, Florence said a family friend went to China Eastern Airlines' Shanghai office where he was told that flight MU211 did not land at the Shanghai airport, but rather, at the Wuhan Tianhe International Airport in Hubei, China. 

Records from the Shanghai office allegedly show that the 3 senior citizens booked a flight to Shanghai from Hubei, but it was not certain whether or not they actually got on the flight, their family friend added. 

The 3 women, who are former teachers at the Commonwealth Elementary School in Quezon City, have been to several trips in Southeast Asia, but this was the first time that they went to New York, their dream destination, said Florence. -- With reports from RG Cruz and Lester Valentin, ABS-CBN News