‘Maybe God loves Joanna more’

Still in disbelief: Rindung Milo (centre) crying as she looks at the video of the helicopter crash which killed her granddaughter Joanna, while her husband Tumbo Usen and Diyanne look on sadly. — ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/RONNIE CHIN/The Star

KUCHING: Honey Vivianne Francis and Diyanne Yanz Love were in school, so their father rushed there to break the sad news that their elder sister had perished in a helicopter crash in Lumut, Perak.

Laskar Kanan (Senior Seaman) Joanna Felicia Rohna, who was married with two children, was among 10 navy personnel who were killed in a mid-air collision between two naval helicopters.

“At that time I was studying. When I heard the news, I was shocked and started to tremble – I can’t believe that she’s gone,” Honey, 16, said when met at the family’s home in Kampung Sumpas Tampek, about 118km from here, yesterday.

Joanna’s death will be deeply felt by Honey as her sister was only able to come home about once a year.

“It was just yesterday (Monday) that I chatted with her. The last time she came back was during Gawai last year.

“I’m really sad now because she was my only big sister. But I accept it and trust God, maybe God loves her more,” she said.

Honey added that Joanna would always advise them to be diligent in their studies and to look after the family.

The mangled remains of one of the helicopters that crashed on a field at the Lumut naval base. — ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/RONNIE CHIN/The StarThe mangled remains of one of the helicopters that crashed on a field at the Lumut naval base. — ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/RONNIE CHIN/The Star

“She always told us to study hard because she wanted to see her sisters succeed,” said Honey.

A tearful Diyanne, 14, also said Joanna had advised them to study hard and perhaps they could follow her footsteps into the navy.

“Whenever she came home, she would take us out and joke and laugh with us. She would also get us to cook with her,” she said.

“Before she went back to Perak, she told us to look after our grandparents, parents and ourselves.”

Joanna was one of three women killed in the mid-air collision of two helicopters at the Lumut naval base’s stadium, which also claimed seven other lives.

According to her uncle Johny Mayi, her parents were informed of the incident in a phone call from Lumut.

“We were about to eat at that time when the call came. We were all shocked and her mother found it hard to accept the news,” he said, adding that navy personnel brought her parents to the airport to go to Perak at about 3.30pm.

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