Airbus to stand trial over 2009 crash which killed 228 people including three Irish

Crew mishandled loss of speed readings from sensors blocked with ice from storm, investigators found

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

 

Air France and Airbus should stand trial for involuntary manslaughter over their role in the 2009 Paris-Rio de Janeiro that killed 228 people including three Irish women, the Paris court of appeal ruled on Wednesday.

The ruling reverses a 2019 decision not to prosecute either company over the accident, in which the pilots lost control of the Airbus A330 jet after ice blocked its airspeed sensors.

Airbus and Air France said they would seek to overturn it at the Cour de Cassation, France’s highest appeal court.

Air France flight AF447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris crashed on June 1st, 2009.

Everyone on board was killed, including 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 in 2007. They were returning from a holiday in Brazil when the plane crashed.

Speaking after the crash, Eithne Walls’s family described her as having “ a passion for life that permeated, enlivened and enriched those around her.”

Aisling Butler’s family remembered her as “full of fun, caring and kind, a devoted daughter and sister.”

At her funeral, Jane Deasy’s sister Caragh said, “Jane was an exceptionally special, loving and unique person to all of us.”

Jane Deasy’s body was indentified one month after the plane went down, but the bodies of Eithne Walls and Aisling Butler were not recovered.

In 2011, the Walls family issued a statement saying they had given up hope of Eithne’s body being recovered.

“It has always been our most fervent wish that Eithne would be brought home to us and we are intensely saddened that she has not been found. The last glimmer of hope for her return to us has now been extinguished and we must now take time to reconcile ourselves to this further devastating news.

“We take some comfort from knowing that Eithne is not alone and is resting with her close friend, classmate and colleague Aisling.” – Reuters