Shell, Exxon Mobil employees aboard downed flight

HOUSTON — Employees of Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil Corp. were aboard the Malaysia Airlines flight that crashed in eastern Ukraine Thursday, the companies said.

A Shell spokeswoman told FuelFix that it had personnel aboard Malaysian Airlines flight 17, which crashed in Ukraine yesterday while traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

Shell’s global headquarters is in The Hague, about 40 miles southwest of Amsterdam.

The airline has identified the nationalities of all but four passengers, and none identified so far is American. But President Barack Obama said Friday morning that at least one American was aboard the plane.

Shell provided no further details, including the number of employees aboard the flight or their names. The company is still trying to assemble a definitive list of employees who were aboard, the spokeswoman said.

All 298 people aboard the flight, which officials say was hit by a missile, are presumed dead.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss of our colleagues and friends, and we mourn their loss and the loss of the lives of everyone onboard flight MH17,” Shell said in a statement.

An Exxon Mobil employee also was aboard the plane.

Karamjit Singh, 54, was a safety adviser working for Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria, an Exxon Mobil affiliate, on a floating vessel south of Nigera, according to The Malaysian Insider, a popular bilingual news website in Malaysia.

He had finished a rotational shift and was on his way home to Kuala Lumpur, the website  reported, citing an internal memo sent to Exxon Mobil employees in Malaysia.

An Exxon Mobil spokesman said Singh had worked for Exxon Mobil for 29 years.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and co-workers, as well as the many other families impacted by this tragedy,” Exxon Mobil said in a statement.