Cause of crash likely due in part to poor weather
By Angela Espinoza, News Editor
On December 28, Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 crashed; the plane was carrying 162 passengers and crew. At least 30 have since been confirmed dead, with the number likely to grow as search operations continue.
The plane, which was headed to Singapore, crashed in the Java Sea. In the week since, search teams have been attempting to recover the black box, but have only found large pieces of debris, including “chunks” of the plane.
Bloomberg revealed on January 3 that the flight did not have permission to fly to Singapore. In addition, the crash has since been attributed to bad weather, including freezing rains. Several other flights were in the air at the time Flight 8501 was, and a recording from air traffic control has revealed that the pilot requested permission to climb to a higher altitude. Bloomberg reported that permission was eventually granted to the pilot, although there is speculation that it was too late by then.
As other flights did not crash that day, recovery of the plane’s parts is essential to learning whether or not the crash was partly due to an issue with the plane itself. While the weather is considered to be a factor, no reports have stated that the crash was solely a result of the weather, although the Wall Street Journal has claimed that “icing” may have contributed greatly.
In a January 2 report by the Indonesia’s weather agency, they’ve stated, “The most probable weather phenomenon was icing that can cause engine damage.” The report itself also states though that it “is not a final decision about the cause of the incident.”
But there also remains the question of why the plane was permitted to fly that day despite regulations stating flights from Surabaya from Singapore are not allowed outside of Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays—the plane flew on Sunday. In addition to the tragedy of the crash, the full cause of which is unclear, AirAsia Indonesia may be subjected to investigation for not complying with their regular flight standards.
Founder of Endau Analytics Shukor Yusof told Bloomberg that “the onus falls not only on the airline but also on the regulator.
“Somebody clearly didn’t do their job,” Yusof added.
Despite rough weather making searching in the Java Sea difficult, there is hope that more information will be recovered, as the general location of the plane is known.
This incident follows the earlier disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which since March 2014 has still not been located, along with all 239 missing passengers and flight crew.