The ill-fated Indonesian airbus, AirAsia Flight 8501, may have been incapacitated by ice damage to the vehicle’s systems, according to an official government report.
“The most probable weather phenomenon is that icing caused the plane engines to be damaged,” reads the document from Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency. “This is, however, just one analysis of what likely happened based on available meteorological data, and is not the final determination on the cause of the incident.”
Tiny grains of ice located in the clouds 8501 passed through may have played a part in the crash.
The flight originally went missing on Dec. 28, over the Java Sea. Around thirty bodies have been found, alongside various pieces of debris. The location of the black box, containing information that will likely clarify the cause of the crash, remains a mystery.
Further, the plane transporting 162 people from Surabaya to Singapore was not cleared to fly its route at the time of the accident. Indonesia has since frozen AirAsia’s permit to use these airways until the investigation is complete.
Prior to losing contact, the pilots requested to raise the altitude of the airbus, and decided to change their course by a few miles.
Yet, Greg Waldron of Flightglobal tells The Wall Street Journal that “You can’t jump to conclusions based only on the weather reports.”
Of the wreckage, the largest piece of debris found is thought to be a part of the fuselage, according to The Guardian. An anonymous source also told the publication that the 8501 made an incredibly steep climb prior to the incident.
The unnamed source says, “So far, the numbers taken by the radar are unbelievably high. This rate of climb is very high, too high. It appears to be beyond the performance envelope of the aircraft.”
The search for debris and potential survivors was originally stunted by bad weather.
This is Indonesia’s second such airplane disappearance, coming hot off the heels of the still-missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370.
MH370 was lost in May of 2014 and remains a mystery to the international community. None of the theories that have emerged since then have proved viable.