World Bulletin/News Desk
The family of the veteran pilot of the AirAsia passenger jet that crashed into the Java Sea paid tribute Sunday to the loving father-of-two.
The niece of Irianto, presumed killed when the Airbus A320-200 he was flying was lost during a flight from Suraybata to Singapore last week, described her uncle, 53, as a fun-loving man with a passion for motorbikes.
Aulia Sari told The Anadolu Agency: "He always able to make a situation cheerful because he liked to joke."
Irianto was a fan of classic motorcycles and a member of a large motorcycle club, often touring with his wife Widya Sukarti Putri during his free time.
Aulia last saw her uncle, a former air force fighter pilot, when he returned to the Javanese town of Yogyakarta in the week before the disaster following his brother’s death.
Their father Suwarto, 76, described the pain of losing two sons within a short space of time. Irianto's brother Edy Nuryanto died of a heart attack.
"It's the toughest test for me to lost two children in a week,” Suwarto told the Tribunnews.com website.
On the day the flight went missing, Irianto's daughter Angela, 22, posted a message on the Path social media site pleading for her father’s safe return. “Papa, please come home,” she wrote. “I still need papa. Bring back Papa to me.”
His other child, eight-year-old son Galih, was reportedly not told of his father’s likely death in the days following the disaster. The boy’s uncle Budi Sutiono said he had told Galih that his father was still away working.
Irianto, who had logged 20,537 flying hours, began his career with the Indonesian Air Force, flying F-5 Tiger jets in the 1980s, taking early retirement a decade later to become a commercial pilot.
Former air force colleague Yadi Sutanandika remembered him as an “intelligent pilot.”
His first civil aviation job was with Adam Air before joining Sriwijaya Air, Merpati Nusantara Airlines and finally AirAsia.
Meanwhile, the relatives of a family-of-five remembered their loved ones, particularly William Wijaya, who had been due to celebrate his ninth birthday on Thursday. All five were aboard the AirAsia flight.
"Happy 9th Birthday in heaven, beloved nephew William Wijaya,” his uncle Adi Kwok Handojo wrote on his Facebook account. “I know you and the whole family are having a fantastic party up there with God. I will always remember your beautiful smile and your trucks and cars toys collection. We love you all.”
William Wijaya was travelling to Singapore with his parents Eko Wijaya and Susandhini Liman and siblings Marilyn and Wijaya.
Last Mod: 04 Ocak 2015, 10:47