Pilot Captain Afwan, who had more than 30 years flying experience, was in charge of Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 when it reportedly plunged 10,000ft just after leaving Soekarno–Hatta International Airport in Jakarta.
Pilot Captain Afwan left his home dishevelled and in a rush just hours before the crash, his nephew said.
The former Indonesian Air Force pilot, who had more than 30 years of flying experience, was in charge of Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 when it disappeared.
Ferza Mahardhika told the BBC that his uncle’s shirt had not been ironed on the day of the flight, which was unlike him as was usually really neat.
Paying tribute to his Captain Afwan, he added: “He was a very good man. He often gave advice, wise advice. He was a prominent figure in his neighbourhood and was well-known for his kindness. We’re in grief, still praying for the best. I’m devastated and can’t believe that this is happening. Please pray for my uncle and our family.”
The pilot’s profile photo on social media is of Superman in prayer alongside the words ‘it doesn’t matter how high you fly, you will never reach heaven if you don’t pray’.
His aircraft reportedly plunged more than 10,000ft in under a minute around four minutes after its departure from Soekarno–Hatta International Airport.
Rescuers have located the wreckage of the missing flight, which crashed minutes after taking off carrying 62 people.
The plane’s cockpit voice and flight data recorders have now been located, with officials hoping they can shed light on the tragedy.
Body parts and clothing were among the objects pulled from the Java Sea, authorities said in a statement.
Indonesian Air Forces chief Hadi Tjahjanto said: “The two signals emitted by the black box are continuously monitored and now we have them marked.
“Hopefully in not too long we can lift up the black boxes for the National Transportation Safety Committee to investigate and find out the cause of the crash.”
Ten children were among those on board and loved ones face an agonising wait for confirmation of their fate.