Flight QZ8501 British passenger’s kin preparing for the worst

As day two of the search for missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 progresses with no solid confirmation on what happened to the plane and those on board, their next-of-kin are preparing for the worst.

The family of Briton Choi Chi Man, who was on board with his two-year-old Singaporean daughter Zoe, is getting ready to receive the worst possible news.

The Daily Mail reported that Chi Man's brother Chi Wai had been preparing their elderly parents for the worst.

Chi Wai said the family was hoping for positive news but "it doesn't look good at the moment".

"I am sure if there was anything to find, then they would have found it by now.

"It is very tricky at the moment. We are just holding on for my parents. They don't know what to make of it," he was quoted as saying.

The British media reported that Chi Man, who was born in Hull and graduated from Essex University, worked as a managing director of an energy firm in Indonesia.

He bought his and Zoe's plane tickets on Boxing Day and was seated in the first row seats 1B and 1C. They could not get seats on an earlier flight out of Surabaya for Singapore with Zoe's brother, Luca, five, and mother Wee Mei-Yi.

"My brother had just started his new job in Indonesia and was travelling back to his wife's family in Singapore.

"His wife is keeping us informed but there is no news at the moment. We know it's not looking great. We are prepared for that," Chi-Wai said, adding that his sister-in-law had been waiting at the Changi International Airport for latest developments.

Flight QZ8501 disappeared yesterday morning while flying between Pontianak, West Kalimantan and Belitung island on the Java Sea.

The Airbus A320 that was carrying a crew of seven and 155 passengers, including an infant and 16 children, never made it to Singapore where it was to land at 8.30am local time.

After a fruitless search yesterday, Indonesian authorities now believe the plane had crashed in bad weather and is at the bottom of the sea.

Earlier this afternoon, Indonesian media reported that a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Orion aircraft spotted "something" on the water some 100 miles south-west of Pangkalan Bun, 700 miles from the last known location of the aircraft that went missing yesterday.

There has yet to be any confirmation on what the object spotted in the waters around Pangkalan Bun, central Kalimantan is, as search continues involving assets from multiple countries, including Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and also South Korea, which has three nationals on board the plane.

Meanwhile, The Guardian in its live updates on the missing plane revealed that the next-of-kin who had gathered at Changi, waiting for news of their missing loved ones, had been separated from the press and the public.

The British newspaper posted that airport staff was tight-lipped about what was going on in the private holding area.

AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes walks in front of family members of passengers onboard the missing AirAsia Flight QZ8501 at a news conference in Juanda International Airport, Surabaya yesterday – Reuters pic, December 29, 2014.

At the crisis centre set up in the Juanda International Airport, AirAsia boss Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, who is in Surabaya to personally handle the crisis, met with worried family members.

Indonesian news portal Detik.com reported that Fernandes had a closed meeting with the family members, together with AirAsia staff.

Earlier today, Fernandes tweeted his gratitude for the well-wishes and support AirAsia had received during this trying time.

"The warmth and support from the people of Indonesia has been incredible. Everywhere I go. Nothing but pure support."

He also praised AirAsia Indonesia's staff for being "brave, strong, committed and doing 150% for all our guests".

"My pride for them is enormous," he tweeted.

This afternoon, it was reported in The Star that AirAsia Indonesia was planning to retire the QZ8501 flight code. – December 29, 2014.