Saturday 24 January 2015

What happened to AirAsia flight QZ8501?

Salvage teams are starting to try to raise the fuselage of AirAsia flight QZ8501, which crashed into the Java Sea last month killing all 162 people on board. The Airbus A320 left Surabaya in Indonesia for Singapore at 0535 local time on December 28, and vanished nearly half-way into the two hour flight.

The salvage operation has been delayed by bad weather, and so far only 69 bodies have been recovered. Indonesian officials believe the aircraft may have climbed too fast to try to avoid a storm, then stalled.

Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan said radar data showed the Airbus had climbed at a speed of 6,000ft a minute, a rate that could only be achieved by a fighter jet, and was at least three times what a commercial airliner would normally do.

Shortly before it disappeared, the pilot asked air traffic control for permission to climb from 32,000 to 38,000 feet to avoid some big storm clouds. Because of heavy traffic in the area, he was not immediately given permission, and when air traffic control tried to contact the crew again, there was no answer. The aircraft disappeared from radar screens soon afterwards, without sending a distress signal.

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