Indonesia plane crash: Relatives awaiting news for missing...

Dhaka, Sunday   17 January 2021

Indonesia plane crash: Relatives awaiting news for missing

 International Desk

 Published: 10:55 AM, 11 January 2021   Updated: 01:22 PM, 11 January 2021

A crisis centre for relatives has been set up at the airport in Jakarta; Photo: Getty Images

A crisis centre for relatives has been set up at the airport in Jakarta; Photo: Getty Images

The Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737-500 passenger plane crashed into the sea shortly after taking off from the Indonesian capital, Jakarta on Saturday. Efforts are underway to recover the wreckage of the missing aircraft. Hundreds of members of the navy and police are conducting rescue operations.

In a statement, Soerjanto Jahzono, head of the country’s National Transportation Safety Committee, said the location of two “black boxes” on the crashed SJ182 flight had been identified. “Rescuers are working to recover them and hopefully it won’t be long before we get them,” he added.

Concerns are growing among the relatives of the passengers as no one on the plane has been officially identified during the search for the missing plane. Many feel that “there is no hope” of finding the survivors.

Ferza Mahardhika, the nephew of the missing pilot, Captain Afwan, said his uncle was the chief pilot of the Sriwijaya SJ182 flight and his family has been heart-breaking since the incident.

“Captain Afwan, 54, left home very quickly that day,” she told BBC Indonesia in a statement. “He did not leave as tidy as other days. This was the captain’s last time leaving his three children.”

Captain Afwan

She added that his uncle was a very good man. He often advised her. He was well known to his neighbors as a prominent figure.

Before starting his career as a pilot, Captain Afwan was in the Air Force. He started operating passenger planes in 1987, said his nephew Ferza Mahardhika.

Captain Afwan’s profile picture on social media shows a cartoon of Superman praying, with the caption “No matter how high you fly, you will never reach heaven if you don’t pray”.

Fernanda Afrion, another missing passenger in the plane crash. Her mother Afrida told BBC Indonesia she was still “hopeful” her 29-year-old son Angga Fernanda Afrion, who was on a missing flight, was still alive.

Afrida, mother of Fernanda Afrion, another missing passenger in the plane crash, is pictured holding a photograph of her son

Afrida, a resident of West Sumatra, said family members in Jakarta were searching for information. 

“It is quite difficult to travel in the Covid-19 pandemic which is why I can’t go to the scene. Just a week ago, he became the father of the first child,” Fernanda’s mother said, adding “he has to come back even if it is for baby.”

Angga used to work in big cargo boats. On Friday, he called home and said he had to go to Pontianak as his boss told him to go.

“Even if my son dies, give me his body so that I could at least bury him,” she said quietly while holding a framed photo of Angga in his uniform. 

Also on board were newly married couple Ihsan Adhlan Hakim and Putri Wahyuni. Ihsan’s younger brother, Arwin Amru Hakim, told news website Kompas that his brother had called from Soekarno Hatta Airport to let the family know their flight had been delayed, due to bad weather. The couple was traveling to Kalimantan to hold a wedding party for Ihsan’s extended family who lives in Pontianak.

“The plan was that next Saturday the event would take place,” said Arwin. But now, he says, the family members are praying together.