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Indonesia

Indonesian Catholics hold Mass for plane crash victims

Authorities yet to find all bodies from Sriwijaya Air Flight SJ182 and crashed plane's voice recorder

Indonesian Catholics hold Mass for plane crash victims

Tania Aprilia, a child of a Catholic couple who died on Sriwijaya Air Flight SJ182, speaks at a requiem Mass for the couple at St. Gemma Galgani Ketapang Cathedral Church on Jan. 20. (Photo: YouTube)

Catholics in Indonesia’s Ketapang Diocese have held a requiem Mass for a Catholic couple who died in a recent air disaster after authorities successfully retrieved their bodies and identified them.

Vincentius Iuskandar, 52, and Melania Nelly, 49, were identified on Jan. 16 and 17 respectively.

They were among 62 passengers and crew on Sriwijaya Air Flight SJ182 heading from Jakarta to Pontianak in West Kalimantan which crashed shortly after take-off on Jan. 9.

Held at St. Gemma Galgani Ketapang Cathedral Church on Jan. 20, the Mass concelebrated by three priests and attended by the families of the victims was broadcast on YouTube.

Passionist Father Damianus Sepo, one of the priests, said he knew the victims very well and they were "good people who were always full of enthusiasm, always entertaining and caring."

"We lost them ... We pray that they may rest in peace in heaven,” he said.

Speaking at the Mass, Tania Aprilia, one of the couple's three children, said she had been left devastated by their loss.

"They loved each other. Therefore, God decided to call them at the same time," she said.

She also thanked Bishop Pius Riada Prapdi of Ketapang, priests, nuns and fellow Catholics for their support following the tragedy.

Aprilia described her father as a patient person and "someone who never gave up."

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"Our mother was a figure of love and generosity. When it came to helping other people, Mom never thought twice,” she said.

Authorities said on Jan. 19 that they have yet to recover all the victims of the tragedy as well as the cockpit voice recorder.

Hery Wijatmoko, commander of the national police’s Disaster Victim Identification Center for Medicine and Health, said 40 victims have been identified so far.

"Of these, 27 have been returned to their families," he said.

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