Saturday, 10 January 2015

Surabaya issues death certificates for crash victims

Thirteen days into the search for passengers of the AirAsia plane that crashed into the Karimata Strait off Central Kalimantan, Surabaya municipality has issued 17 death certificates to victims’ families.

“We have issued 17 death certificates and will issue the rest in accordance with the identification procedure,” Surabaya Civil Registry and Population Office head Wardoyo said as quoted by Antara news agency at the Crisis Center at the East Java Police headquarters in Surabaya on Friday.

The office said it had issued the certificates based on records from the police and Bhayangkara Police Hospital and given them to the victims’ families.

“We must be very careful before issuing the certificates,” said Wardoyo.

As many as 78 of the 162 passengers on board the doomed Surabaya-Singapore flight were residents of Surabaya.

“The data has been validated through population identification numbers. We hope there won’t be any contradictory data,” said Wardoyo.

The death certificates, added Wardoyo, were required by families to claim insurance for the victims. The Surabaya municipality has provided facilities, including an integrated online system at the municipal post office at the East Java Police headquarters, to ease the issuance process.

He said complete data, including legalization of the victims’ identity cards, household cards and certificates from the hospital and police, would be sent through the online system.

“The death certificates will then be issued and handed to families of the victims,” he added.

A number of the crash victims from Surabaya have been identified, including Grayson Herbert Linaksita, 11, Hendra Gunawan Syawal, 23, The Meiji Thejakusuma, 44, Jie Stevie Gunawan, 10, and Juanita Limantara, 30.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has expressed concern over the slow pace of compensation payments to next of kin of passengers on board AirAsia flight QZ8501, urging that insurance payments be made. Transportation Ministry Regulation No. 77/2011 stipulates that the amount is Rp 1.25 billion (US$98,386) per passenger.

According to the central government, AirAsia must pay the victims’ next of kin regardless of the legal status of the flight. AirAsia Indonesia president director Sunu Widyatmoko has said the airline has ensured each victim would receive Rp 1.25 billion in compensation, which would be disbursed when the recovery and identification process had been completed.

Surabaya Mayor Tri Rismaharini has said her administration was ready to file a lawsuit against AirAsia if it failed to adequately compensate families of passengers on flight QZ8501, following the suspension of the airline’s flight permit from the East Java city to Singapore.

Also on Friday, East Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Anas Yusuf said police would oversee the insurance claim disbursement process for victims’ families.

“We will oversee the process so the funds are immediately channeled to the right people,” said Anas at the East Java Police headquarters in Surabaya on Friday.

He added that police intended to query the management of AirAsia regarding insurance payouts for victims’ families.

“This is in line with the request from the central government to immediately compensate victims’ families, or at the latest seven days after the bodies have been identified,” said Anas.

Asked about the identification process at the Disaster Victims Identification (DVI) post at the East Java Police headquarters, Anas said he would try to speed up the process, but asked for more time from the affected families in view of the poor condition of the bodies.

“It’s quite challenging because we need two weeks for DNA identification, but we will try to accelerate the process because we have received assistance from other countries,” he said.

East Java Police DVI team leader Sr. Comr. Budiyono concurred, explaining that body-identification was no walk in the park.

“The poor and decomposing condition of the bodies has hampered the identification process and the DVI team mustn’t make any hasty decisions,” Budiyono pointed out.

Tail lifted from seabed

The Indonesian navy has retrieved from the seabed the tail of the AirAsia plane that crashed two weeks ago.

Divers used an inflatable device to pull the tail to the sea's surface.

They are also searching for the plane's "black box" flight recorders, which officials believe have been separated from the tail section.

Saturday 10 January 2015


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