Family died going to reunion

Teenage sweethearts Hadrien Wattrelos and Zhao Yan were fond of expressing their love for one another on social media.

"I love you," 17-year-old Hadrien wrote when he posted a photograph of his girlfriend on Instagram, to which she replied, "Me too, my love."

Since the couple perished on Flight MH370, their romantic online messages have become a poignant reminder of their young love.

Hadrien and Yan, 18, died alongside his mother Laurence Wattrelos, 52, and his sister Ambre, 14, as they flew home to Beijing from a beach holiday in Malaysia.

Husband and father Ghyslain Wattrelos was in the air himself, en route to Beijing from Paris where he had been working when Malaysian Airlines announced flight MH370 was missing.

The businessman was met by French diplomats in Beijing, according to the Wall Street Journal, who broke the devastating news that his wife and two youngest children were missing.

One of the diplomats said Mr Wattrelos was understandably distraught.

The couple's elder son lives in France.

Mrs Wattrelos and the three teenagers had been enjoying a stay at the four-star Club Med Cherating Beach resort on Malaysia's east coast.

In the days before they boarded their fateful flight home, Yan posted photographs of monkeys, palm trees and beaches to her Instagram account, which has since been made private.

Her boyfriend liked to post group photographs of himself larking around with his mates or pictures of him cuddling Yan to his social media accounts.

The Wattreloses moved to Beijing six years ago so Mr Wattrelos, who works for French industrial company Lafarge, could run its concrete business in China.

Late last year, Mr Wattrelos moved back to Paris to become Lafarge's senior vice-president of group strategy.

But the rest of the family decided to stay in Beijing until June this year so Hadrien could finish his school year at Lycee Francais International de Pekin, also known as the French School.

Yan and Ambre also attended the school.

Mrs Wattrelos was vice- president of the French School's parents' association, which offered its condolences to her family and Yan's family on its website.

A friend told the Wall Street Journal the Wattrelos family, who were active in Beijing's Catholic community, had been planning a leaving party for June.

Sadly, a father and his surviving child now face life without them.

_Angela Pownall _

The West Australian

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