The Slatest

Indonesian Weather Agency: Icing Likely to Blame for AirAsia Crash

Workers carry the coffin of Meiji Thejakusuma, a victim of the AirAsia flight QZ8501 crash, on Jan. 3, 2015 in Surabaya, Indonesia.

Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images

It seems the bad weather theory is sticking; it is now seen as the biggest factor in the crash of AirAsia Flight 8501. The Indonesian weather agency—also known by its Indonesian acronym, BMKG—wrote a 14-page report examining conditions at the time the Airbus A320 crashed with 162 people on board and said icing was likely to blame. “The most probable weather phenomena is icing that can cause engine damage,” notes the report, according to the Wall Street Journal. The BMKG says the icy conditions could cause the engine to stall. “From our data it looks like the last location of the plane had very bad weather and it was the biggest factor behind the crash,” said Edvin Aldrian, head of research at BMKG, according to the BBC. “These icy conditions can stall the engines of the plane and freeze and damage the planes machinery.”

The authors emphasized the analysis wasn’t final, but it marked the government’s first public report into what might have caused the crash.

Meanwhile, search teams located four large parts of the plane on the sea bed. The biggest piece measured 59 feet by 18 feet and appeared to be part of the body of the aircraft, according to the Associated Press. Although rough weather continues to prevent divers from getting a first-hand look at the pieces, there is optimism that it will help recover bodies from the plane. Only 30 bodies have been found so far.

The progress in the search came as officials said that AirAsia did not have authorization to fly that route on that day. The carrier was apparently only allowed to fly the Surabaya-to-Singapore route on four days of the week, and not on Sunday, when the crash took place, according to Indonesian officials. But Singapore officials say the airline had been authorized to fly daily during the season, raising questions about a lack of coordination between Indonesia and Singapore, reports Bloomberg. Indonesian officials said they would investigate other routes flown by the airline, notes Reuters. AirAsia has vowed to cooperate.