The Stories Behind The Captain, The Crew And Passengers Onboard AirAsia Flight QZ8501

We take a look at some of the faces behind the 162 crew and passengers of the QZ8501.

Cover image via independent.co.uk

Monash Student Onboard Flight QZ8501 Would Have Turned 21 Yesterday

Image via roomeetimes.com

The Indonesian is also a student at Melbourne's Monash University, where he was due to graduate from this year. He was travelling with his family, including his sister, Cindy Clarissa Soetjipto, who sat next to him on the plane. A relative, Rudy Soetjipto, also travelled with them.

As of press time, Kevin's body has been found and identified by the Indonesian authorities.


Park Seong Beom, a missionary who had been teaching Korean and computer skills in Indonesia, was travelling to Singapore with his wife Lee Kyung Hwa and their 11-month-old infant daughter, Park Yun Na to renew their visas

From left: Park Seong Beom, Lee Kyung Hwa and the couple's 11-month-old daughter, Park Yu Na.

Image via Straits Times Online

The three South Korean passengers on board the flight were a Christian missionary family headed to Singapore on a routine trip to renew their visas, as they were unable to obtain missionary visas - Indonesia does not issue them to foreigners.


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."


Eko Wijaya was heading to Singapore with his wife Susandhini Liman and three children for a short family vacation

Adi Kwok said his brother and his family had traveled to Surabaya on Sunday morning to catch their flight to Singapore for a short vacation.

"I am devastated," he told NBC News in an email. "I can't ask for a better brother. We love each other deeply."


18-year-old Nico Giovanni, who was reportedly travelling with his parents and brother, had just completed his first year of junior college at the Anglo-Chinese School in Singapore

Indonesian Nico Giovanni, 18, who holds a Singapore Ministry of Education scholarship, had studied at Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) and recently completed his first year at the junior college.

A friend, who wanted to be known only as Michael, said that Nico had come to Singapore to pursue his studies and was enrolled at the Secondary 3 level at ACS (I).

"Nico is very reserved. He is hard-working and respectful," he said, adding that the Indonesian teen is good at maths and science.

His sister, who was not with them, is believed to be waiting for her family at Changi Airport's Terminal 2.


From left: Indahju Liangsih, Herumanto Tanus, Nico Giovanni and Justin Giovanni

Image via Straits Times Online

Friends of Lanny Octavani and Viona Florensa Abraham have been posting on their Facebook pages since the plane's disappearance, asking them to come home

Lanny Octavani (left) and Viona Florensa (right).

Image via Facebook

On Viona's Facebook page, a friend wrote: "Hurry home, I want to accompany you for piano lessons... I would be happy to accompany you. I want you to massage my head again. I wait for you to come home."


Prasetyo Wibowo, a long-time friend of David Gunawan and Juliana Ho described the family as "loving". David's family regularly attended services at the Mawar Sharon Church in Surabaya.

David Gunawan poses in a family photo with his wife Juliana Ho and their two children Kenneth and Kayla.

Image via Chandra Gunawan

His friend said he had known Mr. Gunawan and his wife, Juliana Ho, for more than 11 years. “I knew them even before they got married,” he said. The couple’s children, Kenneth, 10, and Kayla, 8, were also on the AirAsia flight.

Mr. Wibowo described the family as loving and says his own wife saw Mrs. Ho two days before the family boarded the flight. She is distraught that she didn't take what turned out to be a last opportunity to say hello.

“She thought she would have plenty of time to chat another time,” Mr. Wibowo said.


AirAsia flight QZ8501 was confirmed to have crashed into the Java Sea after it was reported missing on 28 December, carrying 162 people on board. Here are some of their stories:

Pilot Captain Iriyanto, who was a fighter pilot before he went into commercial aviation, was a caring man who never failed to help those in need. The father to two children was also part of a motorcycle enthusiasts' club.

Image via twimg.com

Iriyanto’s parents said they have been heartbroken since the plane captained by their son vanished on Saturday; their other son died of diabetes just 10 days ago.

“I want my son to come back alive and well but if that’s not meant to be, if God doesn’t want that, it’s in the hands of fate,” Suwarto said. “My son, he’s not alone on the plane. If this is God’s will then so be it.”

Iriyanto’s daughter posted a picture of the two of them to her Facebook account. “Papa pulang. Kakak masih butuh papa. Kembalikan papaku. Papa pulang pa, papa harus ketemu,” she wrote, which translates to, “Papa come home. I still need you. Return my papa to me. Papa come back, we have to meet.”

Image via buzzfed.com

"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," Iriyanto's nephew, identified only as Doni, told Indonesian news portal Detik.com on Sunday.


Captain Iriyanto (far left) pictured with his friends.

Image via BBC.com

Edy Novianto was a friend of Iriyanto - both were in a club for motorcycle enthusiasts.

"Iriyanto joined our club in 2009," he told the BBC, as he visited the family home to pay his respects. "He had a passion for motor bikes. He was a very safe rider and he taught us the importance of discipline. He was inspiring to the group because he was such a nice, friendly, generous man. We will miss him but we still feel his presence with us."


Co-pilot Remi Emmanuel Plesel wanted to be a pilot since he was a child in the French Caribbean Island of Martinique. He last spoke with his family on 27 December on his iPad, looking at their Christmas decorations from afar.

Image via detik.com

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 1ère 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.


Crew member Oscar Desano got married six months ago to Dessy Purbaningrum. He was also a father-to-be, as his wife is six months pregnant with their first child.

Temp.co reports that when Dessy heard the news that the plane was missing, she locked herself in her room and refused to eat. Dessy is six months pregnant with their first child.

On Dec 17, he tweeted on his account @ochanky: "We did surprise you!!! Happy 25th birthday my beautiful wife. I hope you'll be a great mother, a great example, and a great role model to our children. I love you so much, I adore you so much, you're my everything, always be my wife, always be my friend, always be my biggest enemy, I love you now and then, till only the death do us apart... Enjoy this day my half..."


Haidar Fauzi Khairunisa wanted to be a lawyer initially, before eventually deciding to be a flight attendant "for fun". The 22-year-old joined AirAsia in 2013.

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

His wife cried hysterically when they heard the flight had gone missing and Haidar struggled to console his grieving wife. They had last seen their child six weeks ago when she came home for a holiday.


Her uncle, Roni Somad, told local reporters that his niece would always bring home souvenirs from her travels, and loved telling her families stories from her flights and adventures.


Part of the crew members aboard QZ8501, Saiful Rakhmad* was an aircraft maintenance engineer who lives in Jakarta, Indonesia

The trip to Singapore was to be Alain Oktavianus' last family vacation before getting married to his fiancée, Louise Sitharta. The pair were supposed to fly together, but Alain and his family ended up catching an earlier flight.

Alain Oktavianus Siaun (far right) pictured with Louise and some friends.

Image via Facebook: Alain Oktavianus

“I heard the news about an airplane that had gone missing on the radio while I was on my way to the airport,” 25-year-old Louis Sitharta told a local newspaper. “I then searched the internet and found out that it was Alains’s flight.

“They had planned the vacation on their own as this was supposed to be their last vacation as a family before we get married next May. We were supposed to meet up [in Singapore]. All the relatives are still waiting for more updates. I am thinking positive thoughts and hope that they would be found soon,” she said.

Image via buzzfed.com

Florentina Maria Widodo, known affectionately to her family and friends as Tina, was a teacher from Hwa Chong Institution in Singapore, teaching A-level biology

Her Singaporean boyfriend, Mr Andy Paul Chen, was at the Changi Airport on Monday afternoon to travel to Surabaya, Indonesia.

Ms Widodo and Mr Chen were both from the National University of Singapore, and were members in the university's guitar ensemble. Ms Widodo reportedly graduated from the National Institute of Education last year.


Felicia Tham, a student at the Hwa Chong Institution wrote a touching and heartbreaking tribute to Widodo on her blog, saying she wanted people to see "who Tina really was".

"I want to let everyone see who you really are, as a teacher, as a person, as our friend."


Ruth Natalia Puspitasari and her fiancé Bob Hartanto Wijaya were travelling to Singapore to visit his parents, where they were to celebrate her birthday and the new year together

Ruth Natalia Puspitasari, her fiance, Bob Hartanto Wijaya.

Image via imgur.com

Ruth Natalia Puspitasari’s father, Suyanto, and her mother waited at the family crisis center in the Surabaya airport all day on Sunday.

“Now she is gone in the missing plane, and we should face this sorrow, I can’t believe it,” Suyanto told the Associated Press through tears. “This is too hard to be faced. I don’t want to experience the same thing [that] happened with Malaysia Airlines. It could be a long suffering.”

Image via buzzfed.com

Puspitasari would have turned 26 on 29 December had she not been on the flight with her fiancé and his parents, ahead of celebrating her birthday in Singapore.

The economics student, who met her future husband while studying at Petra Christian University in Surabaya, Indonesia, had recently moved to Guangzhou Province in China, but her fiancé had stayed behind after becoming co-owner of a toy shop in his home town of Malang.


The sole Malaysian onboard, Sii Chung Huei, works as a supervisor for a timber company in Surabaya. He is also the husband of UiTM Sarawak lecturer.

Hailing from Bintangor, the 56-year-old moved to Sibu and then Kuching. He works as a supervisor in a timber company in Surabaya and travels frequently between Indonesia and Sarawak. He had booked his flight to Singapore on Boxing Day.


British national Choi Chi Man was travelling with his two-year-old daughter Zoe to meet up with his wife and son, who'd taken an earlier flight to Singapore because they were 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.


Oei Jimmy Sentosa Winata and his wife were travelling with their 13-year-old son Boby Hartanto Winata and 9-year-old daughter Ingrid Jessica Winata, both students of the Singapore National Academy

Image via imgur.com

At first, Oei Jimmy's sister 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.


Young Boby is a typical teenage boy who loves cartoons, is a car-racing fan, and supports football clubs Manchester United and FC Barcelona.

His sister Ingrid is a fan of SpongeBob SquarePants and adores her pet hamster. The young girl has just celebrated the holidays by making her own Christmas village.


Gusti Made Bobi Sidarta snapped a photo of himself with the plane prior to its departure. He was travelling with his wife Donna Indah Nurwatie and their children Gusti Ayu Putriyana Permata and Gusti Ayumade Keisha Putri.

Gusti Made Bobi Sidarta is a property developer in Indonesia, who was heading to Singapore with his wife Donna and their two children for a family vacation.

Gusti Made Bobi Sidarta’s sister, Dimaz Ade Nurchayo, was the last to see her before the family headed to the airport, News Asia reported.


Flying off for a vacation with his five friends, this was to be Bhima Aly Wicaksana's first time abroad

Wicaksana was the second-oldest child of Dwijanto, who goes by one name like many Indonesians. The young man was traveling for the first time abroad on vacation with five friends, Dwijanto told NBC News from a crisis center set up for family members at the Djuanda Airport in Surabaya, Indonesia, where the plane departed from.

After Dwijanto heard reports of wreckage and bodies found in the search, he said, "If it is true, my heart is devastated." Dwijanto said he is holding out hope for a miracle.


Our thoughts and prayers are with those onboard the QZ8501 and their family and friends

Image via imgur.com

Recovery efforts are ongoing as we enter Day 4 after QZ8501 lost contact with Indonesian air traffic control. Get the latest verified updates HERE:

Other stories on AirAsia flight QZ8501: