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OFW lost wife, child in ill-fated flight

Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - January 1, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Filipino Alejandro Santiago’s Indonesian wife and daughter were among the 160 passengers of AirAsia flight QZ8501 from Indonesia to Singapore last Sunday.

Interviewed over radio dzBB, Singapore-based Santiago said he and his brother-in-law flew to Indonesia to coordinate with authorities about the fate of his wife Romlah Siti and daughter Jasmine Rose Ann Santiago after being informed that the plane had crashed.

“I am here in Surabaya where my DNA is being taken to help identify my wife and daughter from among the bodies so far retrieved,” he said. “This is all I can do to help get them identified.”

In a text message, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Charles Jose said they were awaiting confirmation of Santiago’s wife and daughter from the Philippine embassy in Jakarta.

“We are still trying to get our post to confirm that report,” he said.

Santiago said he had given Indonesian authorities documents, photographs, IDs and dental records to help in the process of identification.

“I cannot accept what had happened up to now,” he said in Filipino.

Santiago said he asked his wife to take a vacation in Rome with their older child, and they decided not to bring their two-year-old adopted child.

“The last time I talked to my wife was last Saturday night, on the eve of their departure,” he said. “We did not talk long because I do not want to keep them awake on the eve of their departure, they might be late for the next early morning flight.”

Santiago was waiting at the AirAsia Center after the victims’ families were told that the retrieved bodies were taken to the nearest hospital.

Santiago remains hopeful that his wife and daughter survived the plane crash.

Indonesian rescuers searching for the missing plane had pulled bodies and wreckage from the sea off the coast of Borneo on Tuesday.

As of Tuesday night 40 bodies had been recovered, the Indonesian Navy said.

AirAsia flight QZ8501, an Airbus A320-200, lost contact with air traffic control early on Sunday during bad weather on a flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore.

AS OF TUESDAY CHARLES JOSE DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS FILIPINO ALEJANDRO SANTIAGO INDONESIAN NAVY JASMINE ROSE ANN SANTIAGO ROMLAH SITI SANTIAGO SURABAYA WIFE
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