SURABAYA, Indonesia (Christian Examiner) – As bodies are being recovered and the world is just starting to grieve the loss of 162 lives in the crash of AirAsia Flight QZ8501, other families are expressing gratitude for being spared from death aboard the ill-fated airliner.
The survivors include a former beauty queen and nine family members who missed the flight because of confusion about departure times, and, a family of five on their way to a vacation in Singapore who canceled their plans because of a family illness.
Chandra Susanto posted a picture on Facebook showing his ticket for the ill-fated flight and a note that translates into "Thank you, Lord Jesus. Your plan is so beautiful, our family safe from harm."
Susanto explained to Australia's Daily Mail that his father had become ill and the family decided it best to cancel their plans the day before the flight, and that he found out about the tragedy from his sister who had seen the news on television.
"I am very thankful to God for his mercy for me and my family," he said. "But I am so sad and very sorry for the people on the plane."
Anggi Mahesti--who was a runner-up for Miss Indonesia in 2008--and her family missed email and phone calls from AirAsia that had information about an earlier departure time. She and husband Ari Putro Cahyono were traveling with their children and her mother-in-law for a vacation in Singapore, and they were accompanied by her husband's brother-in-law Joedhey Ribawantodwi, his wife Christianawati and their three children.
Their frustration and confusion about the missed flight changed when they learned Flight 8501 was missing.
Mahesti told Bloomberg News an airport official told them "it was a Christmas gift from God to our family." She said they subsequently chose not to fly out on another flight because of fears.
On Facebook, her husband was more composed about the incident and offered a hint of his Christian faith.
"Trima kasih untuk doa dr teman teman kami sekeluarga slamat dr maut. Thanks God Jesus," he wrote. Roughly translated, the Indonesian phrase expresses thanks for prayers.
Twenty-three people who were ticketed for AirAsia QZ8501 missed the flight according to published manifests. The plane went down in the Java Sea near Borneo with 155 passengers and seven crew members.