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About 12 minutes before the end of the recording, Hammerschmidt said the crew "experienced an apparent loss of vertical control." After losing more than 7,000 feet of altitude over the next minute and a half, the crew managed to regain control.
After that, a flight attendant advised the crew that she had "heard a loud noise in the rear," Hammerschmidt said. "The crew acknowledged they had heard it too," he said.
About 11 minutes after the initial loud noise and one minute before the end of the tape, Hammerschmidt said "a loud noise can be heard on the recording and the plane went out of control." Hammerschmidt said no stall warning is heard on the tape.
Although he offered no analysis, the lack of a stall warning means the plane likely flipped so rapidly into a dive that there was no time for the stall warning to activate. It also makes highly unlikely the possibility that the plane went down because of a stall, which takes place when the air passing over wings and tail hits at such a high angle that the flight surfaces lose their ability to keep the plane airborne.
originally posted by: Zaphod58
The latest update is that they may have to dredge the area to find the recorders. Despite the debris field being so small, they have yet to hear the pingers. It's believed that they got buried so deep in the mud that it's blocking the signal.