Plane victims’ relatives cast flowers into sea

THOUSAND ISLANDS, INDONESIA (AP) — Relatives of crash victims yesterday prayed and threw flowers into the Java Sea where a Sriwijaya Air jet plunged into the water almost two weeks ago, killing all 62 people on board.

An Indonesian navy vessel took dozens of grieving relatives to the site. Many people wept as they prayed and cast flower petals into the water, and officials from the navy, search and rescue agency, and Sriwijaya Air employees threw wreaths into the sea.

The airline’s president, Jefferson Irwin Jauwena, said he hoped by visiting the location it would help relatives accept what happened to their loved ones and ease their grief.

“We also do feel sad and lost… our crew, they were part of our beloved Sriwijaya Air big family,” he told reporters on the ship. “I, personally, feel so devastated by this accident.”

The jet nosedived into the water minutes after taking off from Jakarta, the capital, on January 9. Searchers have recovered plane parts and human remains from an area between Lancang and Laki islands in the Thousand Island chain.

Those retrieval efforts ended on Thursday, but a limited search is continuing for the missing memory unit of the cockpit voice recorder which apparently broke away from other parts of the device during the crash.

The flight data recorder, which tracks altitude and other parameters of the plane’s flight, was recovered earlier, and investigators are working with Boeing and engine maker General Electric to review information from the device. A team from the United States (US) National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration is part of the investigation.

Relatives of Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 victims throw flowers into the Java Sea where the plane crashed on January 9 during a memorial ceremony held on the deck of Indonesian Navy Ship KRI Semarang. PHOTO: AP