Malaysia - Mystery flight: Rusk ISD teacher discusses ties to airline

Published on Thursday, 20 March 2014 23:26 - Written by Kelly Gooch kgooch@tylerpaper.com

Kevin Stingley has a personal connection to Malaysia Airlines.

Stingley, a Rusk ISD teacher and museum curator at the Heritage Center of Cherokee County, said between he and his wife, who grew up in Malaysia and also works for Rusk ISD, they have flown on the airlines about 20 times in the last 25 years.

She has been three or four times in the last several years, while his last visit was about a decade ago. When they do go, he said they usually stay a month or two.

As of earlier this week, search crews from 26 countries, including Thailand, were looking for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which vanished early March 8 with 239 people aboard en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Reports of possible debris found dominated the news Thursday.

Stingley said he and his wife are keeping track of the search progress, and his wife has been in contact with her family members in Malaysia.

He said he has never had a problem with the airlines, and “they’ve all been perfect flights.”

Many East Texans likely hadn’t heard of Malaysia Airlines before the plane went missing, so it’s weird for him to see the airlines on the news, he said.

Stingley said there are various things that could have happened to the plane, and the more time that goes by, the less he believes he knows what happened.

“The whole world is literally looking for that plane,” he said.

He said neither one of them knew anyone on the missing plane.

However, he said, his wife does have a friend who works in a Malaysia Airlines ticket office.

Stingley said the trip to Malaysia is expensive, and he doesn’t plan to go back in the near future. But he said he believes he and his wife may go back with their college-age children in a couple years.

In the meantime, he said the “million dollar question” is “Where is the plane?”

“It’s going to be interesting when it does break…,” Stingley said. “Wherever it is, I don’t think anybody’s going to say, ‘I knew where it was.’”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.