Three Irish doctors to be remembered 10 years after Air France crash

Jane Deasy, Aisling Butler and Eithne Walls all died in mid-Atlantic disaster

Salvage teams working  to retrieve debris from the wreckage of Air France flight 447 off the coast of Brazil in  2009.  Source: Forca Aerea Brasileira via Bloomberg News

Salvage teams working to retrieve debris from the wreckage of Air France flight 447 off the coast of Brazil in 2009. Source: Forca Aerea Brasileira via Bloomberg News

 

Ten years ago Air France Flight 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris crashed into the Atlantic with the loss of all 216 passengers and 12 crew.

The tragedy was keenly felt in Ireland as it claimed the lives of three Irish doctors, Jane Deasy from Rathgar, Co Dublin, Aisling Butler from Roscrea, Co Tipperary, and Eithne Walls from Ballygowan, Co Down. All three graduated from medical school at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) in 2007.

They were returning from a holiday in Brazil on June 1st, 2009. when their plane crashed.

They will be remembered at a 10th anniversary service in Paris on Saturday to mark the 10th anniversary.

On Sunday, Dr Eithne Walls will be remembered at the Dublin Women’s Mini Marathon when 30 friends and family will run in honour of the research fund set up in her name as they have done since she disappeared.

Dr Walls was senior house officer in ophthalmology at the Royal Victoria Eye & Ear Hospital in Dublin. An annual Eithne Walls research meeting where young doctors are given the opportunity to present their work to their peers has been set up in her honour.

Milestones

In a statement marking the 10th anniversary of the tragedy, the Walls family said it has grieved “all the milestones that we have not shared with her in the past 10 years and for the chapters of her life now unwritten”.

They added: “Eithne had a unique spirit that drew others to her, and a passion for life that engaged and inspired everyone who met her.

“In the past 10 years we, and her friends and colleagues, have embraced and sought to emulate her many wonderful qualities – her compassion for others, her humour, her energy, her positivity and her genuine interest in those around her. We are not always successful – but we try!

“She had many hopes and aspirations for her life which sadly could not be realised. It gives us enormous comfort to know that she continues to inspire future generations of doctors. Each year we look forward to this opportunity to celebrate her spirit, exchange memories and honour a short life well lived. Eithne – you are always in our hearts.”

Documentary

The 10th anniversary coincides with the release of a documentary on Amazon entitled In Search of Flight AF447.

It documents the two-year search in parts of the deepest ocean for the wreckage of the aircraft over a 17,000sq km area of ocean.

It was only on recovering the black box flight data and voice recorders at the bottom of the ocean that France’s air investigation agency was able to solve the mystery of why the plane crashed.

The investigation showed that the aircraft’s speed recorders had frozen during a storm over the south Atlantic. The pilots were unaware they had stalled the plane and it crashed into the ocean.