AirAsia flight QZ8501: Who was on board? – BBC News

Indonesia has confirmed AirAsia flight QZ8501, which went missing 28 December en route from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore, crashed in to the Java Sea.

The Airbus A320-200 was carrying seven crew and 155 passengers, including 17 children. Almost all of them were Indonesians, with the exception of a South Korean family of three, the French co-pilot, one Briton, one Singaporean and one Malaysian.

Here are some of their stories.


The pilot: Captain Iriyanto

Capt Iriyanto, (L) pictured with friendsCapt Iriyanto (L) pictured with friends

Capt Iriyanto, an Indonesian national, has been described as an experienced airman, who was 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.

Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) said that after leaving the Indonesian Air Force, Capt Iriyanto became a commercial pilot with Merpati Airways. He then then joined Adam Air – which had a plane crash on the island of Sulawesi in 2007 and went bankrupt in 2008 – before moving to AirAsia.

His father told the BBC on Monday that he was heartbroken at the possibility that his son might not come back alive.

He had seen him just the previous week at the funeral of another of his sons who had died of complications related to diabetes.


The co-pilot: First Officer Remi Emmanuel Plesel

The co-pilot was a 46-year-old French national who was born in the Caribbean territory of Martinique and lived in Paris. He had 2,275 hours of flight experience.

Speaking from Martinique, Plesel’s mother Rolande told the French newspaper Le Parisien: “He wanted to be a pilot ever since he was a child.”

She said he was “very attached to his mother” and telephoned her every time he took a flight. On Saturday, they had a video chat because he wanted to see their Christmas decorations, she added.

Ms Plesel told French media there that his girlfriend called on Sunday to tell her about the missing flight.

Remi Plesel studied in Paris and worked as an engineer for the Total oil company before leaving to pursue his dream of becoming a pilot, Martinique 1ere reported.

He was the vice-president of an association of professional pilots from the Caribbean and had worked as a pilot in Indonesia for three years, Le Parisien said.


Chi-Man Choi

Chi-Man Choi

Mr Choi was on flight QZ8501 with his two-year-old daughter, Zoe, a Singaporean citizen. It is believed that his wife and son had taken an earlier flight to Singapore because the family had been unable to get four seats together.

Originally from Hull, the 48-year-old studied engineering at the University of Essex.

Mr Choi lived in Singapore but worked in Indonesia as a managing director of thermal services for electronics manufacturing firm Alstom Power.

His parents, who are from Hong Kong, still live in Hull. Mr Choi is also understood to have a brother and sister in the UK.

In his LinkedIn profile, former colleagues praised Mr Choi for his experience in multicultural work environments, saying he communicated well with people from different cultures.


Park Seong-beom and Lee Kyung-hwa

This South Korean couple were Christian missionaries who worked in Indonesia. They were travelling to Singapore with their baby daughter to renew their visas.

Mr Park and his family were from Yeosu, a fishing village 450km (280 miles) south of Seoul.

“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, told Bloomberg.

“He didn’t mind evangelising as an ordinary Christian, because he was passionate about his work and wanted to help people in any way he could.”

Mr Park also taught Korean and computer skills.

Before their arrival in Indonesia in September, the couple had lived in Cambodia for four years.


Maria Florentina Widodo

Maria Widodo, a 26-year-old Indonesian national, was a biology teacher at Singapore’s Hwa Chong Institution, Singapore’s Straits Times reported. She was known to family and friends as Tina.

Ms Widodo graduated from Singapore’s National Institute of Education last year.


Alain Oktavianus Siauw

Mr Siauw’s Facebook page said he was a resident of Malang, a province of Indonesia, CNN reported.

The US network quoted his fiancee, Louise Sidharta, as saying he was supposed to have been enjoying a family vacation before the two got married.

Ms Sidharta was heading to the airport to pick him up when she heard the news that the plane was missing.


Oei Jimmy Sentosa Winata

Mr Winata, his wife, their 13-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter, were not expected to be on the plane.

His sister Oei Endang Sulsilowati had not been worried because they usually travelled with a different airline.

“Then someone told me that she saw his name on TV. Then I saw it,” CNN quoted her as saying.


Reggy Ardhi, Caroline Harwon Lioe, Marianne Claudia Ardhi, Michelle Clemency Ardhi and Jayden Cruz Ardhi

The Ardhi family was travelling together to celebrate New Year in Singapore, according to the principal of Surabaya Cambridge School, where Jayden, Michelle and Marianne were students.

Fellow student Yulia Wang told CNN that she tried to send a message to Marianne, asking her to turn on her GPS so she could be found. There was no reply.


Ruth Natalia Puspitasari, her fiance, Bob Hartanto Wijaya

Ms Puspitasari was due to celebrate her 26th birthday in Singapore on Monday with her fiance, Mr Wijaya, and his parents, the UK’s Independent newspaper reported.

Ms Puspitasari, an economics student, met Mr Wijaya while studying at Petra Christian University in Surabaya, and had recently moved to Guangzhou province in China.

Mr Wijaya was the co-owner of a toy shop in his hometown of Malang, the Independent added.


Jo Indri, Charlie Gunawan, Jie Steven Gunawan, Jie Stevie Gunawan, Kayla Audrey Gunawan, Kenneth Mathew Gunawan, Hendra Gunawan Syawal

Jo Indri had decided to go to Singapore with five members of her family, Channel News Asia reported.

Her daughter explained that they had all been too busy to celebrate Christmas together.

Speaking before the wreckage of plane was found, she said: “There was not enough time to even go to the cinema.”

“I am not too concerned but my nephew dreamt of Jo Indri wearing a very beautiful dress. Hopefully, it is not a bad sign.”


Yuni Astutik

Ms 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 travelled to the airport to give her a work permit.


Nico Giovannni

The 18-year-old had recently finished his first year at Singapore’s St Andrew’s Junior College, an Anglo-Chinese school, on a scholarship from Singaporea’s education ministry.

A friend told the Straits Times that Mr Giovanni was “very reserved” but “hard-working and respectful”. It is believed he was on the plane with his parents and a brother.


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