• Filipino loses wife, daughter in AirAsia crash


    The Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that a Filipino lost his wife and daughter when AirAsia Flight QZ5801 plunged into the sea on December 28, 2014.

    Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose on Thursday said the department was able to talk to Alejandro Santiago, who is based in Singapore.

    Santiago’s Indonesian wife, Romlah Siti, and their daughter, Jasmine Rose Ann Santiago, were onboard the plane, which lost contact 40 minutes into its flight from Surabaya to Singapore on Sunday.

    Santiago said his daughter is not registered as a Filipino nor is she holding a Filipino passport.

    Jose said they already offered assistance to Santiago, and they will remain in contact with Indonesian authorities regarding its search and retrieval operations.

    On board the plane were 155 Indonesians, three South Koreans, a Singaporean, a Malaysian and a Briton.

    The co-pilot was a Frenchman.

    Santiago is already in Indonesia for DNA sampling.

    About seven bodies have been retrieved and sent back to Indonesia, where families of the victims will begin identifying them.

    Indonesian searchers promised “all-out effort” also on Thursday to locate bodies as international investigators joined the hunt for the ill-fated plane.

    Seven bodies have so far been retrieved in the search for the Airbus A320-200, which crashed into the Java Sea with 162 people on board during a storm on Sunday en route from Indonesia’s second city of Surabaya to Singapore.

    Two of the dead—one male and one female—have been identified and will be handed over to relatives after formal confirmation also on Thursday, police said.

    Washington has deployed the destroyer USS Sampson to help with the search, with a second vessel due to join ships and planes from Australia, Singapore, South Korea and Malaysia already helping Indonesia.

    National Search and Rescue Agency chief Bambang Soelistyo said the fuselage had not yet been found, denying reports that sonar imagery showed the aircraft on the seabed.

    During Tuesday’s searches, which retrieved wreckage giving the first confirmation that the flight had crashed, an air force plane had seen a “shadow” on the seabed believed to be the missing plane. All efforts are now being concentrated there.


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