Here is a rather comprehensive analysis of the weather prevailing at around the time that AFR447 disappeared.
The analyst may have ‘grave doubts’ as to the power of thunderstorms in the ITCZ to bring down an A330. I doubt that my colleagues do – I certainly don’t. What technical factors complicated a recovery may take some time to divine but it does sound as though were are some. Airbus can be tight lipped as can Boeing but that shouldn’t surprise us, answers will be tough to get and speculation (like this) isn’t helpful. Still, we are creatures who cannot help but wonder and search for the truth.
I had a short encounter in that very region some ten years ago on the 747-400. We left our track to avoid a line (across our track) deviating over 100 nms before penetrating the line between two cells. It was a suckers gap, on the ‘other side’ of the cells was a valley with no immediate opening – nowhere to go. During our ‘exit’ we clipped the top of a very large cell. We didn’t do that again in a hurry, funnily enough I haven’t done it since.