Page last updated at 12:40 GMT, Tuesday, 2 June 2009 13:40 UK

Tribute to Scot on missing plane

Joyce and Graham Gardner
Joyce and Graham Gardner on their wedding day in 2001

The wife of a man who was on board the Air France plane that disappeared over the Atlantic has paid tribute to her "loving, caring" husband.

Joyce Gardner, 51, from Gourock, said her 52-year-old husband, Graham, would "be missed, dearly".

He worked as a ship's master for Aberdeen-based Subsea 7. He was among the 228 people on the Airbus A330.

The flight left Brazil's Rio de Janeiro for Paris on Sunday evening. It is believed to have flown into a storm.

Air France officials have said the plane encountered turbulence about four hours into the flight. It then sent an automatic signal indicating an electrical fault.

I'm sure I can speak for everyone that knew him - whether family, friend or colleague - in saying that he will be missed, dearly
Joyce Gardner

Five Britons and three Irish citizens were on board the flight.

In a statement, Mrs Gardner said: "I have known Graham for as long as I can remember. He's such a loving, caring and laid back man. Nothing fazed him.

"Graham was very supportive and always there for me when I needed him.

"Although we don't have children, he was very much a family man and loved playing with all the children in our extended family. He was just a big kid at heart.

"I'm sure I can speak for everyone that knew him - whether family, friend or colleague - in saying that he will be missed, dearly."

Subsea 7 chief executive, Mel Fitzgerald, said: "Our immediate priority is to provide support to Graham's family and his colleagues during this very difficult time.

Missing Air France Airbus 330-200 plane F-GZCP
Air France said five Britons were on board the Airbus A330

"Graham is a well respected and highly regarded employee of Subsea 7 who has made a valuable contribution to the company over many years. Our deepest thoughts are with his family."

Mr Gardner studied at Glasgow College of Nautical Studies and later graduated as a Master Mariner.

He had been in the Merchant Navy all his adult life and served on vessels ranging from ferries and tankers to container ships.

For the past four years he had been based in Brazil on a month-on, month-off contract.

Earlier this year he was promoted to Master of pipe-laying vessel, "The Lochnagar".

Mr Gardner is also survived by his mother, Sarah.

Aberdeen-based company director, Arthur Coakley, 61, was also on board the Air France flight. He had worked in the oil and gas industry for 14 years.



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