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A pilot on board the missing AirAsia plane was denied a request to increase altitude to avoid storm clouds minutes before the jet disappeared, it emerged today.

In the last communication with air traffic control six minutes before it vanished off radar, one of the pilots asked permission to turn left and climb from 32,000ft to 38,000ft due to the adverse weather.

However, the request could not immediately be granted because another plane was in the airspace at 34,000ft, said Bambang Tjahjono, director of the state-owned company in charge of air-traffic control.

By the time clearance could be given, Flight 8501 had disappeared, he added.

Details of the jet’s last moments emerged as planes hunting for the Airbus A320 revealed they had spotted objects and oil patches in the sea inside the search zone.

The announcements will bring further anguish to relatives of the 162 passengers and crew who are desperately clinging to hope they may find survivors despite one official saying the jet was most likely ‘at the bottom of the sea’. 

Written by Sarah Dean and Heather Mcnab and Richard Shears and Lucy Thackray and Louise Cheer for Daily Mail Australia and Emma Glanfield
Read more at Daily Mail

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