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Final Moments of Doomed AirAsia Flight Involved 'Unbelievably' Steep Climb

( [email protected] ) Dec 31, 2014 05:06 PM EST

AirAsia Tragedy
An AirAsia Airbus A-320 passenger jet landing at Sukarno-Hatta airport on the outskirts of Jakarta in this Jan 30, 2013, file photo. Investigators into the AirAsia flight which crashed are focusing on the timing of the crew's request to climb to a higher altitude to avoid bad weather. Photo: Reuters

Investigators have found some wreckage and bodies in Indonesian waters, leading them to believe that they found the crash site of AirAsia Flight QZ8501. Based on data retrieved by radar, the Airbus A320 made an "unbelievably" steep climb.

According to Siva Govindasamy of Reuters, a source familiar with the probe's initial findings said that the data was transmitted before the flight disappeared from observation by air traffic controllers in Jakarta on Sunday.

"So far, the numbers taken by the radar are unbelievably high," he said. "This rate of climb is very high, too high. It appears to be beyond the performance envelope of the aircraft."

The source, who declined to be identified according to Reuters, added that the data used to make those assumptions were incomplete.

The findings from the initial report seemed to pin the blame on bad weather causing the airplane disaster, which has killed all 162 people on board. Reuters reported that the crew's reaction to storms and clouds in the area of the Java Sea may have also played a role.

The unidentified source commented to Reuters on the importance of finding the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and flight data recorder (FDR), which are commonly known as black boxes. Those components could enhance the radar-gathered data on the six-year-old plane.

"With the CVR and FDR, we can establish what went on in the cockpit and what was going on with the aircraft," the source said. "We can conclude if the radar information is accurate."

According to a report from Fox News, poor weather conditions have prevented divers from carrying out recovery operations in the area Wednesday, much less finding the black boxes. Although ships scoured the area, the helicopters were largely grounded.

According to Indonesian search and rescue Chief Bambang Soelistyo, the bodies of four men and three women have been recovered so far; one of the women wore a distinctive red uniform consistent with an AirAsia flight attendant.

There were claims that one of the bodies recovered had worn a life jacket, but Tatang Zaenudin, deputy head of operations at the national search and rescue agency, backtracked on that assertion.

"There is no victim that has been found wearing a life jacket," Zaenudin said. "We found a body at 8:20 a.m. and a life jacket at 10:32 a.m. so there was a time difference. This is the latest information we have."

Fox News reported that according to Indonesian officials, large parts of the Airbus A320 have been identified through sonar images, but the wreckage has been moved by strong currents.

"It seems all the wreckage found has drifted more than 50 kilometers (31 miles) from yesterday's location," said one official. "We are expecting those bodies will end up on beaches."

According to Fox News, the search for bodies had been expanded to about 94 miles of nearby Indonesian coastline to allow for that possibility.

Numerous countries have deployed dozens of planes, ships and helicopters for the airliner, which disappeared halfway in a two-hour flight from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore early Sunday. Fox News reported that it remains unclear what brought the plane down.

Nearly all of the people who died aboard Flight QZ8501 were Indonesian. However, Fox News noted that many of the passengers were Christians of Chinese descent.

Rev. Philip Mantofa of Manwar Sharon Church, which lost 40 members in the crash, urged the crowd to hold on to their Christian faith in spite of the pain.

"Some things do not make sense to us, but God is bigger than all this," Mantofa said. "Our God is not evil ... help us God to move forward even though we are surrounded by darkness."

Tags : AirAsia, flight QZ8501, missing AirAsia plane, AirAsia Flight QZ8501, QZ8501, Airbus A320, Airbus, A320, Java Sea, Indonesia, Indonesia Air Traffic Control, Chinese Christian, chinese Christians, search and rescue operations, Surabaya, Singapore, black boxes, cockpit voice recorder, flight data recorder, Jakarta