Fri, 03 Nov 2000

Cecilia's fate remains unknown

JAKARTA (JP): The fate of an Indonesian passenger on the ill- fated Singapore Airlines (SQ) flight 006 which crashed on takeoff in Taipei on Tuesday is still unknown.

Singapore Airlines' officials still could not confirm whether Cecilia Halim is one of the 79 victims who died aboard the Boeing 747-400 at Chiang Kai-shek International Airport despite the fact that she was not among those being treated in hospital.

A spokeswomen for the Airline Media Center in Singapore told The Jakarta Post by telephone that she had no further information concerning the Indonesian.

"All I can say that we have yet to identify the body", said the spokeswoman who asked not to be named.

A housewife and mother of two, Cecilia Halim was one of five Indonesian passengers aboard the doomed flight.

The Indonesian survivors were Anton Gunadi, Lailawati Gunadi, Hendric Leenardo and Sigit Suciptoyono.

A resident of Surabaya, East Java, Cecilia boarded the flight on her way to Los Angeles along with Anton and Lailawati, who are her relatives.

However Cecilia reportedly traveled economy class while her two relatives were in first class.

"When her husband found out that Cecilia was among those aboard the plane, he immediately left for Taipei," Andre, a nephew of Cecilia, said as quoted by the Surabaya-based Jawa Pos newspaper.

Cecilia's husband Thio Yauw Liang alias Aka, is an employee of an East Java-based timber company.

The couple have a son and a daughter -- Rizal and Marissa -- who are both students of Petra Senior High School in Surabaya.

Andre said that the family was still awaiting further information on Cecilia's fate.

"We are very upset and can only hope that Cecilia is safe, no matter what her condition is," Andre said.

Nevertheless, Andre said that the family was keeping its hopes up and believed that she was alive as she had made an unfulfilled promise.

"She promised us many gifts from the United States," Andre said of their reason for believing.

Meanwhile, a statement from the Singapore Airlines' Jakarta office on Friday said that 11 survivors had been released from hospital in Taipei overnight after receiving medical attention.

This brings the number still being treated in hospital to 40.

"Fifty-nine survivors, including those who required only outpatient treatment and those released from the hospital, have either returned to their homes, are preparing to do so or are continuing on their travels", the statement said.

Among those released from hospital on Wednesday was Indonesian Hendric Leenardo, while Sigit Suciptoyono is still in hospital.

Investigators are still looking into the cause of the accident. However, there is growing suspicion that the jetliner, which was carrying 179 people, may have hit an object on the runaway before the crash. (02)