THE heartbreaking final message of a mum on board the doomed Indonesian flight with her children before it crashed into the sea has been revealed.
Rathi Windania posted pictures of three laughing children before boarding the Boeing 737 that crashed into the sea carrying 62 passengers and crew members just minutes after takeoff.
She sent the pictures from Jakarta's airport alongside the message: "Bye bye family. We're heading home for now," with two emojis blowing kisses.
The tragic post was sent just before the family boarded the Boeing 737 from the Indonesian capital on Saturday, that crashed into the sea just minutes after take-off.
Her brother Irfansyah Riyanto posted a picture of his relatives alongside the words, "Pray for us."
He had rushed to the Soekarno Hatta airport on Saturday night, in a desperate attempt to gain information on the flight carrying his sister and four other family members – including his parents.
The aircraft, carrying 62 passengers and crew members, "disappeared" from radar screens into rainy weather, after it had reached an altitude of 10,900ft.
Pieces of the wreckage of the Sriwijaya Air Flight SJ 182 and body parts had been recovered on Sunday from the Java Sea, Indonesian authorities said.
Distraught Irfansyah told reporters: "We feel powerless, we can only wait and hope to have any information soon."
He explained how his relatives had originally planned to take an earlier flight operated by Sriwijaya's unit NAM Air, but it was unclear why they changed plans.
His sister and her two children were returning home to Pontianak on the island of West Kalimantan, after a three-week holiday.
"I was the one who drove them to the airport, helped with the check-ins and the luggage … I feel like I still can't believe this and it happened too fast," Irfansyah said.
The aircraft fell 10,000ft in under 60 seconds – as locals reported hearing two explosions, before they found debris floating in the sea.
Signals from the plane's black box were tracked by Indonesian police, as search and rescue teams battle to find the six crew members and 56 passengers – including seven children.
Authorities have located the box and retrieved its communication data, and hope to retrieve it from the seabed, as they believe it is 23 meters (approximately 75 feet) below the surface.
The Indonesian Navy has deployed 11 vessels to hunt for the plane's wreckage underwater.
Police have asked families to provide information to help identify the bodies found, such as dental records and DNA samples.
The brother of co-pilot Diego Mamahit told how he had been asked for blood samples at the police hospital.
"I believe my younger brother survived, these are just for the police procedure," Chris Mamahit said.
"Diego is a good man, we still believe Diego survived."
Diego's LinkedIn profile explains his role flying the Boeing 737 planes, as well as the words, "I really love to fly."
Diego and pilot Afwan, who goes by only one name, had nearly two decades of commercial flying experience between them.
A family member of Awfan, a former air force pilot, told Detik.com, "We the family still hope for good news."
Other families shared their agonising last messages with loved ones on board the tragic flight.
Rafiq Yusuf Al Idrus outlined the last communications he had with his wife Panca Widiya Nursanti, a middle-school teacher in Pontianak.
She had been returning from a trip to her home town of Tegal in Central Java, and told her husband the weather conditions were "not good".
"She contacted me via Whatsapp at 2.05 p.m with laughter. She was already boarding the plane and she said the weather conditions were not good. I said pray a lot, please.
"I was joking by saying that when she arrived in Pontianak we would eat satay together," he said.
President Joko Widodo extended his sympathies to the victims, saying: "We are making our best efforts to find and rescue the victims and we all pray that they can be found."
The Sea and Coast Guard Unit (KPLP) said they found what appeared to be the jet's emergency staircase, which is located at its door.
Officials confirmed the plane crashed between Lancang Island and Laki Island in the Thousand Islands area.
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