AirAsia Plane Crash: Remembering Some Passengers and Crews of Flight QZ8501

( [email protected] ) Jan 01, 2015 03:00 AM EST
AirAsia Tragedy
A crew member of an Indonesian Maritime Surveillance plane says a prayer before a search mission to look for AirAsia's Flight QZ8501 in Pangkal Pinang, Bangka island on Dec. 30, 2014. Reuters/Darren Whiteside

There may be some closure for families of the victims who died while on AirAsia Flight QZ8501 thanks to the fact that wreckage and bodies from the doomed flight have been found. However, each of the victims had individual stories worth sharing.

According to Eileen Ng of the Associated Press, relatives and loved ones recalled the stories of some of the 162 people aboard the AirAsia flight, which crashed on Sunday.

"For many, it was a family trip to Singapore to ring in the New Year, a chance to go shopping and enjoy the city's famed restaurants," Ng wrote. "One family was going to visit their 15-year-old daughter, who had just begun studying at a Christian girls' school. Others were taking a familiar flight to a city they visited often for getaways."

These are some of their stories as told from the BBC and Associated Press.

The pilot, Captain Iriyanto

The BBC described Capt. Iriyanto, an Indonesian national, as an experienced airman who trained as a fighter pilot before going into commercial aviation.

"AirAsia Indonesia said he had logged 20,537 hours of flight time, 6,053 of which were with AirAsia," the BBC wrote.

His father told the BBC that he saw his son just the previous week at the funeral of a different son, who died of complications from diabetes.

Edy Novianto described his friendship with Iriyanto.

"Iriyanto joined our club in 2009," Novianto said about his friend. "He had a passion for motor bikes. He was a very safe rider and he taught us the importance of discipline."

Novianto added that Iriyanto "was such a nice, friendly, generous man," noting that although the club will miss him, "we still feel his presence with us."

The co-pilot, First Officer Remi Emmanuel Plesel

Remi Plesel, a 46-year-old French national, was born in the Caribbean territory of Martinique and lived in Paris. The BBC reported that as co-pilot, he had 2,275 hours of flight experience.

"He wanted to be a pilot ever since he was a child," Plesel's mother, Rolande, said back in Martinique.

Rolande added that her son was "very attached to his mother" and called every time he went flying. According to her, their most recent communication was on Saturday, when they had a video chat so her son could see their Christmas decorations.

According to the BBC, Plesel studied in Paris and worked as an engineer for the Total oil company before pursuing his dream of flying airplanes. He worked as a pilot in Indonesia for three years and was the vice-president of an association of professional pilots from the Caribban.

Christian missionaries Park Seong-beom and Lee Kyung-hwa

The BBC reported that this South Korean couple had been Christian missionaries who worked in Indonesia. They were going to Singapore alongside their baby daughter to renew their visas.

"It had been only two months since he settled in Indonesia and he was in the middle of learning the local language," Kim Jong Heon, a pastor at Yeosu First Presbyterian Church, said about Park. "He didn't mind evangelizing as an ordinary Christian, because he was passionate about his work and wanted to help people in any way he could."

The BBC noted that Park and his family came from a fishing village called Yeosu, located 450 km (280 miles) south of Seoul. He also taught Korean and computer skills.

The couple previously lived in Cambodia for four years before arriving in Indonesia back in September, according to the BBC.

Adrian Fernando, 13

According to the Associated Press, the Christian community of Surabaya, Indonesia has been hit "particularly hard" by the disaster. Pastor Philip Mantofa of the Mawar Sharon Church in Surabaya was surprised that 41 of the 162 passengers and crew were members of his church.

"Some things do not make sense to us, but God is bigger than all this," Mantofa said.

One of those victims was 13-year-old Adrian Fernando. The Associated Press reported that his mother, Linca Gonimasela, was supposed to join him on a "fun trip" to Singapore along with his aunt, uncle and their 3-year-old daughter; Gonimasela backed out, citing work reasons.

"He is my only son," Gonimasela said about Fernando. "At first he didn't want to go, but later on he was persuaded to join them for the New Year holidays."

Counselors from Mantofa's church hugged and prayed for Gonimasela and other relatives affected by the tragedy, the Associated Press reported.

 Flight attendant Khairunnisa Haidar, 22

The Associated Press reported that Khairunnisa Haidar, 22, always dreamed of becoming a flight attendant.

"We couldn't have stopped her," her 60-year-old father, Haidar Fauzie, said. "From the start, we already know the risks associated with flying."

Her parents were looking forward to meeting their only daughter on Jan. 6. According to the Associated Press, Fauzie's wife cried hysterically when they heard the flight had gone missing.

"She had asked my wife to make her favorite fruit pudding and a local vegetable samosa filled with carrots, potatoes and eggs," Fauzie said. "She is a filial, beautiful and smart daughter. It is a painful loss."

Fauzie showed a picture of Haidar from his mobile phone to the Associated Press, which was a pose of her wearing a red AirAsia uniform in an aircraft. Despite the heavy loss, he was quite calm about the events surrounding her death.

"We accept God's will," Fauzie said with a smile. "She belongs to the Almighty. We will see her again one day."

Tags : AirAsia, AirAsia Flight QZ8501, AirAsia Flight 8501, flight QZ8501, flight 8501, Captain Iriyanto, Adrian Fenando, South Korean missionaries, Remi Plesel, missing AirAsia plane