AirAsia flight QZ8501 wreckage found may have climbed above safety limits before crash
Ground Control Lost contact with the ill-fated aircraft after it asked for permission to climb higher
At 6.12 am on Sunday, 36 minutes after takeoff from Surabaya’s (Indonesia) Juanda Airport to Singapore, the pilot asked for permission to climb to 38,000ft from 32,000ft and deviate to the left to avoid bad weather. The ground control at Jakarta responded by asking the pilots to go seven miles left and to climb to 34,000ft. There was however no response from the aircraft although it was still detected in the ATC’s radar before completely going off grid at 6:18 am.
Radar data being examined by investigators appeared to show that AirAsia Flight QZ8501 made an “unbelievably” steep climb before it crashed, possibly pushing it beyond the Airbus A320’s limits.
Bad Weather stalls rescue operations
The massive hunt for 162 people who were on board the plane was severely limited due to heavy rain, wind and thick clouds. The weather prevented divers from retrieving bodies in the Java Sea on Wednesday, and helicopters were largely grounded, but ships were still scouring the area. “It seems all the wreckage found has drifted more than 50 kilometers (31 miles) from yesterday’s location,” said Vice Air Marshal Sunarbowo Sandi, search and rescue coordinator in Pangkalan Bun on Borneo island, the closest town to the site. “We are expecting those bodies will end up on beaches.”
Hernanto, head of the search and rescue agency in Surabaya, said rescuers believed they had found the plane on the sea bed with a sonar scan in water about 30 to 50 metres (100 to 165 feet) deep. The black box flight data and cockpit voice recorder has yet to be found. With the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and flight data recorder (FDR, the investigators might be able to put together the bits and pieces and ascertain the reason for the plane’s crash.