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QZ8501: Heartbreak as bodies return

First victim identified, another body with air stewardess uniform and name tag found

The first identified victim of the ill-fated AirAsia flight QZ8501 is Ms Hayati Lutfiah Hamid from Sidoharjo, East Java.

Mr Budiyono, head of East Java police's disaster and victim identification division said this was confirmed after a post-mortem, Jakarta Post reported.

"We managed to match her identity based on her fingerprints and personal belongings," he told a press conference yesterday.

"An ID card with the name Hayati Lutfiah was also found in the clothes on the body. She was also wearing a necklace with her initial on it and a bracelet that family members confirmed belonged to Hayati," Mr Budiyono added.

Another body that has been found is that of a woman in a stewardess uniform with the name Khairunnisa on the name tag.

Ms Khairunnisa Haidar, 22, was a former law student, who was pursuing her ambition of becoming a stewardess by joining AirAsia last year, Daily Mail reported.

"We couldn't have stopped her," her father, Mr Haidar Fauzie, 60, told The Star.

"From the start, we already knew the risks associated with flying."

Mr Haidar's only wish now is that the body that has been found is officially confirmed to be that of his youngest child and only daughter, and that he can finally lay her to rest.

Ms Khairunnisa and senior flight attendant Wanti Setiawati were the only female crew members on board.

Ms Khairunnisa's parents last saw their daughter six weeks ago when she came home for a holiday, The Star reported.

Mr Haidar said they had visited her apartment in Surabaya and found that she had packed in anticipation of a holiday in her home town in Palembang, and had booked her ticket home.

"It is a painful loss," said Mr Haidar, with a sad smile.

"We accept God's will. She belongs to the Almighty. We will see her again one day."

Two weeks ago, Ms Khairunnisa had posted on Instagram a photograph of a napkin with a message written on it.

The message, believed to be addressed to her 22-year-old boyfriend, Divo, read: "I love you from 38,000 feet."

Besides posting photos with messages for her boyfriend, Ms Khairunnisa also shared photos of her travels, family and friends, Daily Mail reported.

Known to her friends as Nisa, Ms Khairunnisa's father said she would have put the lives of her passengers before her own.

In the same vein, her brother, Mr M. Ikhsan Nul Kamil, told Indonesian news portal Detik.com: "She was a good girl who always liked to help others. I always asked for her help when I needed it."

The Star, meanwhile, reported AirAsia group chief executive Tony Fernandes as saying he will accompany Ms Khairunnisa's family to Palembang once her body had been positively identified.

"If our beautiful and wonderful crew is identified we will go from Surabaya to Palembang with her parents. Heartbreaking, soul destroying," he tweeted yesterday.


ABOUT THE CRASH

WHEN

Dec 28, 2014

WHAT

About 40 minutes after taking off from Surabaya's Juanda International Airport, the flight heading for Singapore lost contact with air traffic control.

WHERE

It crashed into the Java Sea south-west of Borneo.

WHO

155 passengers, seven crew members. A majority of them were Indonesians. No survivors have been found.

Nine bodies recovered so far

Heavy seas prevented divers from reaching the possible wreck of the AirAsia plane yesterday, and an aviation official said it could be a week before the flight recorders are found.

Nine bodies have so far been recovered. Searches yesterday spanned an area of 13,500 sq km involving 19 ships, four helicopters and five planes, Mr Fransiskus Bambang Soelistyo, head of Indonesia's Search and Rescue Agency, told Reuters.

A search pilot spotted a large shadow in the sea, which rescuers believe may be the wreckage, but they have made it clear that the sighting has not been confirmed.

"Until now, there hasn't been a confirmed finding or sonar image of the plane body under water," Mr Soelistyo said.

The Republic of Singapore Navy's MV Swift Rescue reached the search area yesterday, joining the RSS Supreme, RSS Valour and RSS Persistence, the Ministry of Defence said.

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