Missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 pilot a caring man, says nephew

Captain Iriyanto, the pilot of missing AirAsia flight QZ8501, was a very caring man who never failed to help those in need, his nephew said.

The nephew, Doni told Indonesian news portal Detik.com today that Iriyanto cared very much about people who needed help.

"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.

"If there are money problems in the family, he would surely help," said Doni from Yogyakarta who lives in Surabaya.

Doni told Detik.com that Iriyanto is married with two school-going children. His wife does not have a job.

According to a media release by AirAsia, Iriyanto had clocked 6,100 hours of flying time. Flying with him was first officer Remi Emmanual Plesel, who had logged 2,275 hours of flying time. Plesel is a French national.

The other crew members on duty onboard the missing flight are flight attendants Wanti Setiawati, Oscar Desano, Khairunisa Haidar Fauzi and Wismoyo Ari Prambudi, as well as Saiful Rakhmad, who is the plane’s engineer.

Flight QZ8501 went missing while flying from Surabaya to Singapore this morning. It left the Juanda International Airport at 5.20am Indonesian time and was due to land at the Changi International Airport at 8.30am Singapore time.

It is now believed that the flight got into trouble after it experienced bad turbulence and went down near Belitung. Indonesian authorities despatched a search and rescue unit to the location where the Airbus A320 is believed to have crashed.

The flight was carrying 155 passengers on board, including 16 children and one infant.

The passengers comprise 149 Indonesians, three South Koreans, one Singaporean, one Malaysian and one Briton.

Meanwhile, another Indonesian news portal Kompas.com reported that president Joko Widodo has asked Indonesia to pray for the safety of the passengers and crew.

He said he had instructed Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan to contact the families of the passengers and crew members onboard the plane.

"The entire nation and I are praying for the safety of the passengers and crew members," he was quoted as saying.

Kompas.com also reported that the president had instructed all relevant authorities to search for the plane, adding that help had been offered by neighbouring countries in the region, including Australia. – December 28, 2014.