The tragic crash of Indonesia AirAsia flight QZ 8501 may have been caused by icing of the engine, thus said Indonesia's meteorological bureau.
The aircraft, which was carrying a total of 162 people on board including its 7 crew members, left Surabaya for Singapore in the early morning of December 28.
More than half an hour later from takeoff, while cruising at an altitude of 32,000 feet, its pilot was reportedly asking permission from the air traffic controller (ATC) to climb up to 38,000 feet due to bad weather. The ground controller, however, deferred the pilot's request citing heavy traffic at that altitude.
Two minutes later, when the ground controller tried to contact the pilot to give its permission, it lost contact with the aircraft. The two-minute deferment by the ATC was found to be the most crucial moment for flight QZ8501, as its engine must have started to ice up and finally failed.
The plane must have plunged to the ocean seconds later in a dizzying speed.
Barely 40 minutes later since loss of contact, officials declared the flight as missing. Frantic search commenced immediately after with navy boats deployed to the area where the wreckage could have been located based on the last position of the aircraft.
Teams from Malaysia and Singapore offered to help the search and rescue operations hoping to find survivors. However, after hours of scouring the area, neither survivors nor debris that could lead to the wreck was found. On the following day, more teams joined in the search mission including US military ships.
Two days later since the search and rescue began, teams were finally able to retrieve bodies as well as small debris believed to be that of the plane. Any hope of finding survivors from the crash grew dimmer as the days went by with only dead bodies found floating along with the debris.
More teams from other countries joined in the international effort, which now shifted to search and retrieval operations, as it was deemed impossible to find any survivor from the crash based on fragmented parts of the plane that were found.
The plane's main wreckage and the black box took weeks to be located. Bad weather condition over the area prevented the teams from intensifying their effort. High waves, poor visibility in the water, as well as strong undersea current, have slowed down the retrieval operations.