Forty-one passengers of AirAsia Fight QZ8501, which crashed on Sunday with 162 people on board, were reportedly members of a single church in Indonesia, reports have said. The search for the bodies of the victims in the Java Sea meanwhile continues around much grief and tragedy.
The Straits Times reported on Thursday that the 41 Christians were members of the Mawar Sharon Church of Surabaya, part of one of the largest megachurches in the region, with 30,000 members.
A pastor at the church, Philip Mantofa, said that he was shocked to learn of the big loss to his parish. He urged relatives of the victims not to allow the tragedy to shake their faith. more >>
A young Korean family of Christian missionaries was among passengers on board AirAsia flight QZ8501 when it crashed on Sunday.
Park Seong-beom, 37, his wife, Lee Kyung-hwa, and their 11-month-old daughter, Park Yuna, relocated to Indonesia in September where they had been doing missionary work. They were teaching Korean and computer skills in the town of Malang, in the East Java province and were traveling to Singapore to renew their visas but sadly met their fatal end, according The Wall Street Journal.
On Tuesday, rescue workers found wreckage from the plane and recovered 40 bodies off of the coast of Borneo. The Airbus AIR.PA A320-200 had departed Surabaya en route to Singapore with 162 people on board, but 42 minutes into the flight it lost contact with air traffic control after experiencing bad weather conditions. more >>
AirAsia has confirmed that debris from Flight QZ8501 has been discovered in the Karimata Strait, south west of Pangkalan Bun in the Borneo province of Central Kalimantan. At least 40 bodies from the 162 passenger list have already been recovered, leaving grieving family members devastated.
"The warship Bung Tomo has retrieved 40 bodies and the number is growing. They are very busy now," an Indonesia navy spokesman said, according to Fox News.
AirAsia confirmed that the debris and the bodies, found six miles from the flight's last point of contact, are from the missing aircraft. more >>
With help from a Dominican-Pakistani priest, an American couple has bought a new home for three Pakistani children whose Christian parents were burned alive by an angry mob of Muslims in the Punjab Province after being accused of blasphemy in November.
Moved by the orphans' unfortunate situation and the barbaric death of the children's parents, Jill and Scott Kelley of Tampa, Florida, have paid for a new home for the three children of Shama Bibi and Shahzad Masih, The New York Post reports.
After being accused of ripping pages out of the Koran, Bibi and Masih were tortured, had their legs broken and were thrown into a brick kiln by a mob of about 500 to 600 Muslims in the town of Kot Radha Kishan on Nov. 4. more >>
Millions of Christians in India from the lowest caste system, known as "dalit," are being forced to choose between their faith and receiving government benefits available only to "untouchables," a report has said.
The International Christian Concern noted on Sunday that there are close to 25 million Dalits across India who've converted to Christianity, but now must make the choice between maintaining their faith or benefiting from a government program that only helps them if they identify with their Hindu background.
"This choice has significantly affected the constitutional right India's citizens have to freely choose a religion for themselves," the ICC reported. more >>
AirAsia Flight QZ8501, which went missing on Sunday carrying 162 people on board from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore, is likely at the "bottom of the sea," according to search-and-rescue officials.
"Based on the co-ordinates given to us and evaluation that the estimated crash position is in the sea, the hypothesis is the plane is at the bottom of the sea," Bambang Soelistyo, the head of Indonesia's search and rescue agency, said at a news conference in Jakarta.