Missing AirAsia flight QZ8501: Families don't want to suffer same uncertainty as MH370

A second day of searching has not found a trace, leaving families distraught

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The Independent Online

The distraught parents of one of the passengers on board missing AsiaAir flight QZ8501 have said they do not want to suffer the continued uncertainty tormenting relatives of people in the MH370 disaster.

No trace of the plane has been found after a second day of searching the Java Sea, where the aircraft disappeared yesterday on its way from Indonesia to Singapore.

Almost 10 months after Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, its fate is also unknown.

One of QZ8501's passengers, Ruth Natalia Puspitasari, was on holiday with her fiancé and his parents to celebrate the New Year.

Her father, Suyanto, was sitting with his wife waiting for news at the family crisis centre at Surabaya's airport today.

Puspitasari showed concern for the families of MH370 victims and their families, left with no certainty about their loved ones' fate, he told the Associated Press.

“Now she is gone in the missing plane, and we should face this sorrow, I can't believe it," he said, crying. “This is too hard to be faced.”

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Relatives hold a picture of the Herumanto Tanus family as they wait for news from the missing AirAsia plane

Suyanto was still sleeping when Puspitasari left for the airport but called his daughter just before boarding, when she told him excitedly that they planned to celebrate her 26th birthday in Singapore on Monday.

“I don't want to experience the same thing [that] happened with Malaysia Airlines,” he said as his wife wept. “It could be a long suffering.”

Families have gathered at Surabaya's airport for the latest news on their loved ones but their long wait was unrewarded today, as potential leads on “objects” in the sea and oil slicks were not officially linked to the missing plane.

Hopes are fading for the 162 people on board after a second day of searching turned up no trace of the aircraft.

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Relatives await news of the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 at Juanda airport in Surabaya, Indonesia

The father of the pilot last saw his son just days ago, at the funeral of another of his sons.

Captain Iriyanto’s brother died of diabetes, their father Suwarto told the BBC, saying the second tragedy to hit the family was in the hands of god.

“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,” he added.

"My son, he’s not alone on the plane. If this is god’s will then so be it.”

Captain Irianto’s daughter has reportedly posted a plea on social media for her father to come home safely.

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Identified as Angela, she uploaded a picture of him and wrote: “Papa pulang. Kakak masih butuh papa. Kembalikan papaku. Papa pulang pa, papa harus ketemu.”

It roughly translates to: “Papa come home. I still need you. Return my papa to me. Papa come back, we have to meet.”

A British national who was on board the AirAsia flight has been identified in local media reports as the Singapore-based businessman Chi Man Choi.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has confirmed that a Briton was among those missing and said the individual's next of kin had been informed.

The passenger manifest for missing flight QZ8501 lists Mr Choi as the only UK citizen on the plane at the time.

Indonesian media reports identified Mr Choi as the managing director of an energy company, who had been living in Singapore with his family and was travelling on QZ8501 with his two-year-old daughter.

On board Flight QZ8501 were 155 Indonesians, three South Koreans, and one person each from Singapore, Malaysia and Britain. The co-pilot was French.

Additional reporting by agencies

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