The desperate stories of those waiting for news of their loved ones have begun to emerge. The British passenger aboard the missing AirAsia flight was travelling with his two-year-old Singaporean daughter after other family members got an earlier flight from Indonesia, it is believed.
Louise Sidharta was at Singapore’s Changi Airport waiting for her fiancée to return from a family holiday. “It was supposed to be their last vacation before we got married,” she said. Rohana, the mother of AirAsia flight attendant Khairunisa, showed pictures of her daughter as she waited to hear her fate in Indonesia.
Pope Francis has said he is praying for those on board flight QZ8501. He said his thoughts “go to the passengers of the airplane which went missing”.
“With affection and prayers I am close to their family members and those who are living through these difficult situations with apprehension and suffering as well as those who are involved in the rescue operations,” he added.
The one Malaysian passenger on board has been identified as Sii Chung Huei, a businessman from Kuching, but based in Jakarta, the New Straits Times reports.
It is thought the British father, named as Chi Man Choi, and his daughter Zoe, were returning to Singapore and planned to reunite with the young girl’s Singaporean mother, who travelled on an earlier flight from Surabaya, in Indonesia, with Zoe’s older brother.
Mr Choi, who is believed to be from Hull, Yorkshire, originally and who graduated from the University of Essex, was the managing director at an energy company in Indonesia.
He purchased his plane ticket and that of his daughter on Boxing Day – according to the passenger manifest – and they were seated in the first row, in seats 1B and 1C.
Chi Man Choi graduated from the University of Essex in 1988 after completing a degree in electronic engineering.
It is believed the three South Koreans on the plane were Park Seong-beom, 37, his wife Lee Kyung-hwa, 36, and their 12-month daughter Park Yuna.
According to officials at Yeosu First Presbyterian Church, the couple had been sent to Indonesia as Christian missionaries and were travelling to Singapore to renew their visas.The pilot of the plane has been named as Captain Iriyanto, while the co-pilot is believed to be Frenchman Remi Emmanual Plesel.
Mr Iriyanto’s nephew told Indonesian news outlet Detik.com today that his uncle, who is married with two young children, was “a very caring person”.
He said, “He is always helping people because he is a very caring person. If there is a sick relative who needed help and even money, my uncle would be there. If there are money problems in the family, he would surely help.”
There were 155 passengers on board, with 138 adults, 16 children and 1 infant. Also on board were 2 pilots and 5 cabin crew.
Nationalities of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 passengers:
3 South Korea
1 United Kingdom
Nationalities of crew:
A flight attendant believed to have been aboard QZ8501 tweeted messages of support to the victims of both Malaysia Airlines disasters.
Earlier this year crew member Oscar Desano, from Indonesia, who is believed to have been aboard the plane, tweeted chilling messages of support asking people to ‘pray for Malaysia Airlines passengers’.