Indonesia plane crash – Mum’s heartbreaking last post before she boarded Boeing 737 with children


The heartbreaking post of a young mother who was on board of the crashed Indonesian Boeing 737 has been made public. 

Rathi Windania posted pictures of three laughing children before boarding the Boeing 737 that crashed into the sea carrying 62 passengers and crew members just minutes after takeoff. 

She sent the pictures from Jakarta's airport alongside the message: "Bye bye family. We're heading home for now," with two emojis blowing kisses.

The flight took off from the Indonesian capital on Saturday bound for Pontianak, on the Indonesian side of Borneo, when it lost contact at 2:40pm.

Her brother Irfansyah Riyanto posted a picture of his relatives alongside the words, "Pray for us."

He had rushed to Soekarno Hatta airport on Saturday night in a desperate attempt to gain information about the flight carrying his sister and four other family members - including his parents.

The aircraft, carrying 62 passengers and crew members, "disappeared" from radar screens into rainy weather, after it had reached an altitude of 10,900ft.

Signals from the plane's black box were tracked by Indonesian police, which was found on the seabed.

They believe it is 23 metres (approximately 75 feet) below the surface.

The head of the National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC), Suryanto Cahyono, said he was confident experts had located the black box's position and had handed over "portable ping detection devices to Navy divers so they can find it".

Distraught Irfansyah told reporters: "We feel powerless, we can only wait and hope to have any information soon."

He explained how his relatives had originally planned to take an earlier flight operated by Sriwijaya's unit NAM Air, but it was unclear why they changed plans.

His sister and her two children were returning home to Pontianak on the island of West Kalimantan, after a three-week holiday.

"I was the one who drove them to the airport, helped with the check-ins and the luggage ... I feel like I still can't believe this and it happened too fast," Irfansyah said.

The aircraft fell 10,000ft in under 60 seconds - as locals reported hearing two explosions, before they found debris floating in the sea.

The Indonesian Navy has deployed 11 vessels to hunt for the plane's wreckage underwater.

Police have asked families to provide information to help identify the bodies found, such as dental records and DNA samples.

The brother of co-pilot Diego Mamahit told how he had been asked for blood samples at the police hospital.

"I believe my younger brother survived, these are just for the police procedure," Chris Mamahit said.

"Diego is a good man, we still believe Diego survived."

Diego's LinkedIn profile explains his role flying the Boeing 737 planes, as well as the words, "I really love to fly."

Diego and pilot Afwan, who goes by only one name, had nearly two decades of commercial flying experience between them.

A family member of the pilot told "We the family still hope for good news."

Other families shared their agonising last messages with loved ones on board the tragic flight.

Rafiq Yusuf Al Idrus outlined the last communications he had with his wife Panca Widiya Nursanti, a middle-school teacher in Pontianak.

She had been returning from a trip to her home town of Tegal in Central Java, and told her husband the weather conditions were "not good".

"She contacted me via Whatsapp at 2.05pm with laughter. She was already boarding the plane and she said the weather conditions were not good. I said pray a lot, please.

"I was joking by saying that when she arrived in Pontianak we would eat satay together," he said.

President Joko Widodo extended his sympathies to the victims, saying: "We are making our best efforts to find and rescue the victims and we all pray that they can be found."

The Sea and Coast Guard Unit (KPLP) said they found what appeared to be the jet's emergency staircase, which is located at its door.

Officials confirmed the plane crashed between Lancang Island and Laki Island in the Thousand Islands area.

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