A pink hoodie belonging to a little girl retrieved from the Java Sea by divers of Indonesia’s national search and rescue agency on Jan. 10, 2021, was the first piece of clothing to be found that conclusively confirmed the crash site of Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182.
The piece of distinctive and bright clothing, found intact, not only contrasted with the grim news of the crash and the ongoing wreckage salvaging operations, but it allowed Indonesians left shell-shocked by yet another aviation disaster to pinpoint exactly who is its owner based on past social media posts.
In total, 62 passengers -- comprising 40 adults, 7 children, and three infants, together with 12 airline employees -- all Indonesians, died on board the Boeing 737-500.
The plane crashed into the Java Sea on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, at 2.40pm local time.
The plane had taken off from Jakarta barely four minutes earlier.
Pink hoodie belonged to little girl
The pink hoodie, it was soon revealed, belonged to Yumna, passenger number 45, based on passenger records.
This discovery was made quickly based on the flight manifest.
3 children and their mother
Yumna is the second daughter of Ratih Windania.
Ratih had boarded Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182 with her three children, the youngest of them was only an infant.
The four family members were headed to Pontianak, West Kalimantan to visit Yaman Zai, the husband of Ratih, and father of the children.
Yaman Zai works in Pontianak.
The father told reporters after the tragic news was confirmed that the entire family had wanted to go on vacation together, as he had been working in Pontianak for a year.
He also revealed that he last contacted his wife at 1:30pm local time on the day of the ill-fated flight, which was roughly an hour before the crash.
Waited at the airport but no arrival
Yaman Zai had been waiting for an hour at the Supadio International Airport in Pontianak before the scheduled arrival of Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182.
But his wife and three children never appeared.
Flights from Jakarta to Pontianak take, on average, one-and-a-half hours only.
At the airport, Yaman Zai was kept waiting only to later find out that the plane had been reported missing.
After the crash was confirmed, Yaman Zai was inconsolable.
"I have four family members on the flight - my wife and my three children," Yaman Zai told reporters through tears.
"[My wife] sent me a picture of the baby today... How could my heart not be torn into pieces?"
Indonesians take to social media to piece together clues
The pink hoodie's discovery was reported in the local media, which allowed Indonesians to search for any possible links to passengers who were known to have boarded the plane.
Past social media posts, particularly the ones on Instagram, showed a little girl wearing an identical apparel, and the evidence was quickly established to confirm the worst.
In a television interview, Yaman Zai confirmed that the pink hoodie retrieved belonged to his daughter.