AirAsia flight QZ8501: Daughter of crash pilot appears on national TV in plea for public not to blame her father

'He is just a victim and has not been found yet'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The daughter of the AirAsia pilot whose flight crashed into the Java Sea has appeared on national TV to beg people not to blame her father.

Angela Anggi Ranastianis, 22, has previously released pictures of her family with Captain Iriyanto, the man who was at the helm when flight QZ8501 disappeared between Surabaya in Indonesia and Singapore.

Speaking to Indonesia's TV One, she said: "As a daughter, I cannot accept it. No pilot will harm his passengers," the Straits Times reported.

"He is just a victim and has not been found yet. My family is now mourning," she added.

There were 162 people on board the plane when it disappeared, though only 34 bodies have been recovered so far.

Captain Iriyanto

Ms Anggi Ranastianis's plea came as officials leading the search effort said they had found "what has a high probability of being the tail of the plane", where QZ8501's black box flight recorders were stored.

That's in addition to the five large objects that have been pinpointed in the shallow waters by ships using sonar. The largest of these - about 18 metres (59 feet) long - is thought to be the plane's fuselage, where the majority of the victims could still be strapped in to seats.

Divers have been unable to reach the area to verify any of the imaging finds, however, due to bad weather. The ships and aircraft seeking debris and bodies from the Airbus A320-200 have also been forced to widen their search area to allow for powerful sea currents.

  Peter Marosszeky, a senior aviation research fellow at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, said the weather was squarely to blame for the delay in finding the black box recorders, which are designed to emit pings that can be detected by sonar for a month after a crash.

"The seas haven't been very friendly, but the black boxes have a 30-day life and they will be able to find them, particularly in the shallow waters," he said. "It's the weather that is causing the delay."

Meanwhile, debate continues to rage between Indonesia and Singapore as to whether or not the flight had the correct permissions to fly on 28 December when it crashed.

The plane was travelling between Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city, and Singapore on a Sunday. Officials have since said its permit for the popular route was only for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and that AirAsia quietly switched three of those days. Officials in Singapore, however, have said the plane was authorised to fly on Sundays from its end.

While the airline is being investigated, Indonesia announced on Saturday that it had banned all AirAsia flights between Surabaya and Singapore.

AirAsia Indonesia president director Sunu Widyatmoko said the airline will co-operate with the government during the evaluation, but would not comment on the permit allegations until the process is complete.