Together at the end: Family was en route to see MGS student

Chiara Natasha was waiting for her family to arrive to celebrate a belated Christmas.

But the Methodist Girls' School student's family never reached Singapore, as they were on the AirAsia flight.

Four members of her family were on the flight: her father Herumanto Tanus, her mother Indahju Liangsih and her brothers Nico Giovanni, 17, and Justin Giovanni, 9.

Nico, a St Andrew's Junior College student, held a Singapore Ministry of Education scholarship and had studied at Anglo-Chinese School (Independent).

Chiara, 15, has flown back to Surabaya.

Speaking to Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao at the crisis centre in Surabaya's Juanda International Airport, Chiara said that she could not believe that her whole family may have died on their way to visit her in Singapore.

Her aunt, Ms Juliana, said on Monday that she was not giving up hope, as she owes it to her niece, the only member of the family who was not on the plane.

"How do I even begin to describe how I feel? There are just no words," she told TNP over the phone.

"I still hope they will return safely to us."

The family maid, Ms Nana, was seen on Monday holding a photo outside the crisis room.

She broke down in tears as she spoke to reporters, saying she had looked after the children "since they were babies". She said she had worked for the family for 18 years.

Mr Herumanto's last words to her before the flight was that they were meeting Chiara in Singapore and for her to "take care in Surabaya".

This article was first published on Dec 31, 2014.
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