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'This will close a painful chapter'

SHOCK AND GRIEF: Family members of passengers onboard AirAsia flight QZ8501 bursting into tears when they are told of the discovery of the wreckage and bodies in the sea. - PHOTO: REUTERS

- TNP INFOGRAPHICS: TEOH YI CHIE

It was the worst news for the relatives of the passengers of AirAsia flight QZ8501 after more than two days of not knowing what had happened to their loved ones.

But the discovery of wreckage and bodies from the ill-fated flight yesterday afternoon, while hard to accept, at least gives them a chance for closure.

Some, like Mr Hartono, whose daughter, Ms Ana Widyawati, 37; her husband, Mr Wiranto Kusuma, 49; and their son, Nelson, 10; were on the flight, were already preparing for the worst.

When The New Paper called him yesterday evening, the 69-year-old was at the local police station to give physical descriptions of his missing relatives and family photos to investigators to help in the identification of the bodies.

Mr Hartono said in Bahasa Indonesia: "I'm okay. I accept it if they're dead.

"It's just that they've been going to Singapore often for holidays and medical treatment, and nobody expected that it would all end tragically wrong."

Similarly, the uncertainty is almost gone for Mr Rony, the uncle of Mr Reggy Ardhi, 40, who was travelling with his wife and three children.

Mr Rony, 50, told TNP: "Now, all we hope for is that their bodies will be found and returned to the family. This will close a painful chapter in our family."

Mr Dwijanto, 60, who goes by one name like many other Indonesians, told AFP: "My heart will be totally crushed if it's true. I will lose a son."

When footage of a floating body was showing on television in a room in Surabaya where the relatives had gathered, a female AirAsia officer shouted at the TV media: "Is it possible for you not to show a picture of the dead? Please do not show a picture of a dead body. That's crazy."

In Malaysia, families of passengers on the Malaysia Airlines MH370 flight that went missing without a trace in March hoped the victims of the latest tragedy could at least have a proper burial, AFP reported.

"The families can now have closure and peace of mind, which I am dying for," said Mr Selamat Omar, whose 29-year-old son was on MH370.