Channel 11 News has confirmed that a local woman was among the 239 people aboard a Malaysia Airlines jet that disappeared en route to Beijing over the weekend.
Eastman Chemical Co. said Mei Ling Chng, of South Park, was a senior process engineer for their subsidiary Flexsys America in Monongahela.
Spokeswoman Tracy Kilgore wrote in an email that co-workers "are deeply shocked and saddened."
Chng, a native of Malaysia, joined the company in 2009. She purchased a home in the Pittsburgh suburbs last October, and made a strong impression on Valerie Shafer, the seller.
"She was a very intelligent young lady. I was quite impressed with her," Shafer said, adding that "I remember holding Chng up to my daughter" as an example of how education and hard work could enable a single young woman to buy a house.
Shafer, who works in human resources, said she stayed in touch with Chng after the sale via email and checked on packages that were left at the house when Chng was away. "She was just a very accomplished young woman. I'm just devastated to hear she was on that flight."
Chng had "a very nice smile," she added.
"I've been crying since I got the phone call from your news station that they confirmed her name on the flight registry. It's just terrible news," Shafer said. "She was very intelligent and she carried herself extremely well."
Kilgore said Chng was "remembered fondly by her co-workers as being ... pleasant and happy as well as well-respected."
Flexsys makes and supplies chemicals for the rubber industry.
Eastman Corporate Communications issued the following statement:
"We are saddened to hear of the news of the disappearance and apparent crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 and the possible fate of the 239 passengers and crew members aboard.
Of particular concern to us is that an Eastman Team member is believed to be one of the passengers onboard the flight.
All of us at Eastman are deeply saddened by this, and our thoughts and prayers go out to all the families of those on the flight and especially to the family of our friend and co-worker."
The jet carrying 239 people lost contact with ground controllers somewhere between Malaysia and Vietnam after leaving Kuala Lumpur early Saturday morning enroute to Beijing.
Thirty-four aircrafts and 40 ships from eight different countries, including the United States, have been deployed to the area where ground controllers lost contact with the plane.