... but I wonder, how do they know this?
"Meteorologists said the Air France jet entered an unusual storm with 100 mph (160 kph) updrafts that acted as a vacuum, sucking water up from the ocean."
If they have radar data about the storm, why don't they have radar data about the airplane? But if they don't have radar data about the storm, how do they know it was unusual with 100 mph updrafts? If they can make a reasonable assumption about the storm and the speed of its updrafts, then it couldn't have been that ususual, therefore the pilots should have been able to handle it.
Also, I have read there were two planes in the immediate area of where they believe the plane went down. One article, which I can't find now, quoted a pilot as saying they saw a white flash of light descending toward the ocean. The light lasted about six seconds. Well, if they were close enough to see it, they were certainly close enough to see it on their own plane's radar. Can't they review the radar record from nearby airplanes and discover what happened, or at least get an idea of where it happened?
Oh, and one other thing. That American Airlines plane that crashed November 12, 2001 was an Airbus 300. It's tail and both engines broke off in midflight, due to "turbulence."
As of today, still no wreckage recovered, and France says they're not even confident any wreckage has been spotted.