“We’re in grief, still praying for the best,” said Ferza Mahardhika, whose uncle was the pilot of the Sriwijaya SJ182 flight.
Captain Afwan, 54, left home quickly on the day of the doomed flight, his nephew told BBC Indonesia, complaining that “his shirt hadn’t been ironed, when usually he is really neat”.
The captain apologised to his three children for having to leave them again.
Captain Afwan, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, started his flying career in the air force before becoming a commercial pilot in 1987.
His family and colleagues say he was devoted Muslim, eager to help people in his neighbourhood in the West Java town of Bogor, and at work.
His profile picture on social media is a cartoon of Superman praying, with the words “it doesn’t matter how high you fly, you will never reach heaven if you don’t pray”.
“He was a very good man. He often gave advice, wise advice. He was a prominent figure in his neighbourhood and was well-known for his kindness,” said Ferza Mahardhika.
“I’m devastated and can’t believe that this is happening. Please pray for uncle and our family,” he added.
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