Relatives desperate for news on Indonesia crash victims

Jakarta: With four family members onboard Indonesia’s ill-fated Lion Air jet, Febby Mellysa knows there will be no good news as she and scores of distraught relatives await the results of DNA tests on remains recovered from the crash.

The plane plunged into the Java Sea Monday morning, with 189 people onboard, including Mellysa’s 39-year-old cousin Hendra, his wife and son as well as another older relative.

Since then Mellysa has done the rounds of the airport and police hospital in Jakarta, desperate for information from the airline, with the cause of the crash shrouded in mystery.

“You should come and update the family, what happened, how many bodies you’ve found and what you are doing next,” she told AFP.

“We are not talking about money…. We are talking about how you update the families”, she said, adding that many of her relatives, including her cousin’s father, are reliant on television news for updates on the recovery operation.

“His father had a heart attack two months ago. He is just there waiting and watching TV. It’s so sad.”

With dozens of divers involved in the recovery effort, officials have begun the grim task of identifying the remains of crash victims in Jakarta.

Grieving relatives thronged a hospital building being used for victim identification, crouching curbside or sitting on chairs set up under an awning at the building’s entrance.

Others sought shade under nearby trees, staring blankly at the ground or crying.

Surya, 48, told AFP her youngest brother was on the flight.

“I talked to him … when he called to say he had arrived at the airport at 4:30 am, just before the accident,” she said, adding that she felt “really terrified” upon hearing the news of the plane crashing.

“At first I was praying he would survive but based on the news the possibility is slim,” she said, collapsing into sobs.

[source_without_link]Agence France-Presse[/source_without_link]