AirAsia flight QZ8501: Pilot's daughter pleads for dad's return; pilot's father reveals another son died last week

The father of the pilot on missing Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ8501 said that the last time he saw Captain Iriyanto was at the funeral of the pilot's brother.

"I want my son to come back alive and well, but if that's what's not meant to be, if God doesn't want that... it's in the hands of fate," Suwarto told the BBC.

"If this is God's will, then so be it," he added.

Suwarto saw Captain Iriyanto last week at the funeral of another son, who had died of diabetes. 

His father is not the only family member praying for his return.

Iriyanto's daughter posted a touching message on social media on Sunday, pleading with her father to come home.

Captain Iriyanto's older daughter Angela Anggi Ranastianis, 22, wrote in the message on Path: "Papa, come back, I still need you. Return my papa to me. Papa, come back, pa. Papa needs to be found, papa must return."

Iriyanto has another daughter, seven-year-old Arya Galih Gegana, reported Liputan6.com and The Guardian.

The girls had reportedly been living with relatives in Yogyakarta, and had planned to return on Sunday evening to Iriyanto's hometown of Sidorajo, East Java, to be with their mother, Ida, who had locked herself in her room after hearing that the plane had gone missing, The Guardian said.

A nephew of the pilot told Indonesian news portal Detik.com that Iriyanto is a very caring man who has never failed to help those in need.

"He is always helping people because he is a very caring person. If there is a sick relative who needed help and even money, my uncle would be there. If there are money problems in the family, he would surely help," he said.

Iriyanto, a former Indonesian Air Force F16 pilot, had clocked 6,100 hours of flying time, according to an AirAsia media statement, and was a member of Motor Besar Club, a motorcycle club.

dshea@sph.com.sg