AirAsia flight QZ8501: Eight-year-old son of pilot thinks 'daddy is at work'

SINGAPORE - Amidst the heartbreaking scenes of sobbing relatives and grim prayers in the Indonesia city of Surabaya, one little boy is still oblivious to the tragedy that has befallen.

His loved ones simply cannot bring themselves to break the horrible news to Arya Galih Gegana, or Galih for short, that his father is gone.

For the past few days, the eight-year-old son of veteran pilot Iriyanto is under the impression that his father is still away at work.

Badi Sutiono, Captain Irianto's 55-year-old brother, told The Daily Telegraph: "I told Galih that his father will not be coming straight home because he has another job to do.

"He thinks daddy is still at work."

Mr Badi added that the boy had accepted his explanation, but keeps crying as he missed his father.

Captain Iriyanto's wife, Widya Sukarti Putri, had been quoted as saying she needed to be "strong and tough for my children".

The couple have another daughter, 22-year-old Angela, who had previously implored her father on social media to come home.

It is the second major blow to the family recently, after another brother of Captain Iriyanto died of diabetes.

mklee@sph.com.sg

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