JAKARTA – A man who was about to be married. Missionaries, a biology teacher and an energy executive. Families on vacation. Pilots with years of experience.
The lives of 162 people intersected Sunday on what was supposed to be a roughly two-hour AirAsia flight from Indonesia to Singapore.
Now their families are dealing with the likelihood all lives were lost, after Indonesian officials announced that there was a 95% chance debris found in a search zone on Tuesday belonged to Flight QZ8501.
Many family members were seen in tears as airline CEO Tony Fernandes tweeted his condolences: “My heart is filled with sadness… words cannot express how sorry I am.”
As they wait for confirmation of the fate of their loved ones, details are emerging about the lives of those on board.
Here’s what we know so far:
Alain Oktavianus Siauw
Louise Sidharta was heading to the airport to pick up her fiance when she heard the news: AirAsia Flight QZ8501 was missing.
Sunday night, surrounded by television cameras, she explained that Siauw was supposed to be enjoying a family vacation before the two got married. “It was to be his last vacation with his family,” she said.
Siauw’s Facebook page says he lives in Malang, a province in Indonesia.
Oei Jimmy Sentosa Winata, his wife, their 13-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter
At first, Oei Endang Sulsilowati wasn’t worried, even when she heard a plane was missing. She knew her brother usually traveled with a different airline.
“Then someone told me that she saw his name on TV. Then I saw it,” she said, weeping.
Now she says she’s looking for information about her brother, his wife and the couple’s two children.
“We don’t know what to do,” Sulsilowati said. “We are just waiting for news.”
Choi Chi Man and his 2-year-old daughter
People on board AirAsia QZ8501
155 passengers total:
16 children, 1 infant
7 crew total:
4 flight attendants
3 South Korean
British national Choi Chi Man was traveling on the plane with his 2-year-old daughter, Zoe, Indonesia-based Alstom Power said on Twitter.
He had just started a job as an executive there, The Independent reported. They were traveling on Flight QZ8501 because an earlier plane was full, the British newspaper said.
In his LinkedIn profile, former colleagues praised Choi for his experience in multicultural work environments, communicating well with people from different cultures.
Reggy Ardhi, Caroline Harwon Lioe, Marianne Claudia Ardhi, Michelle Clemency Ardhi and Jayden Cruz Ardhi
The Ardhi family was traveling together on the plane, planning to celebrate New Year’s in Singapore, according to Yulia Wang, principal at Surabaya Cambridge School, where Jayden, Michelle and Marianne were students.
“It’s hard to believe. Hopefully they’re safe, but I don’t know, we are just praying now,” Wang said. “Everybody is praying, including their friends.”
One student at the school, she said, tried to send a message to Marianne, asking her to turn on her GPS so she could be found.
There was no reply.
Raven Limadinata said he received a message from Michelle from inside Flight QZ8501 before it took off. Using the messaging app SnapChat, she sent a picture showing the plane’s wing, along with the caption “bye Surabaya.”
Limadinata and Michelle have been “best friends since we first met,” he told CNN.
“She doesn’t talk a lot, but she is a smart girl,” he said.
Astutik, 40, had worked for years as a maid in Singapore
She returned to Indonesia to attend a wedding last month, Channel News Asia reported, citing an employment agent who had traveled to the airport to give Astutik her work permit.
Park Seong Beom
A missionary who had been teaching Korean and computer skills in Indonesia, Park Seong Beom, his wife and their 11-month-old baby were on the flight, heading to Singapore to renew visas, Channel News Asia reported.
Before their arrival in Indonesia in September, they had been missionaries in Cambodia for four years.
“He had good local contacts and helped poor people in need,” Kim Jong Heon, a spokesman for Park’s church in the South Korean fishing village of Yeosu, told Channel News Asia. “He was always thinking about how to meet more locals and eventually left the country to be a lay minister.”
Florentina Maria Widodo
Andy Chen told Channel News Asia that his girlfriend, a biology teacher, was on the missing plane.
Pilot Captain Iriyanto
A veteran of the skies, Iriyanto had more than 20,000 flying hours under his belt, 6,100 of which were with AirAsia on the Airbus 320.
He was an F-16 fighter jet pilot with the Indonesian Air Force and retired early to become a commercial airline pilot, the Jakarta Post reported.
In his spare time, he was a member of a motorcycle club, according to media reports. Pictures on Facebook show the captain posing with a motorcycle.
A post on a social media account thought to belong to the pilot’s daughter, Angela Anggi Ranastianis, reads: “Dad, please come home, I still need you. Please return, Dad. Dad, come home Dad. You have to come home.”
The family, which lives in Indonesia, had recently suffered a loss. The captain’s younger brother died of diabetes just days ago.
“I want my son to come back, alive and well,” his father, Suwarto, told the BBC. “But if that’s not meant to be, if God doesn’t want that, it’s in the hands of fate.”
First Pilot Remi Emmanuel Plesel
The plane’s 46-year-old co-pilot originally hailed from the French Caribbean island of Martinique.
“Since his childhood, he wanted to be an airplane pilot,” said his mother, Rolande Plesel, according to Le Parisien.
His mother told media there that she had gotten a call from his girlfriend on Sunday with news of the missing flight.
He studied in Paris, according to French media, and had worked as an engineer for the Total oil company, but left to pursue his dream of becoming a pilot, Martinique 1Ã¨re reported.
The first officer had a total of 2,275 flying hours with AirAsia Indonesia. He was the president of a French pilot association.
He’d been working as a pilot in Indonesia for three years, Le Parisien said, and he called his family in Martinique before each flight.
On Saturday, he’d called them on his iPad, looking at all the family’s Christmas decorations from afar. – CNN