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Air France Plane Wreckage Located

Dr Aisling Butler

French investigators, aboard the expedition ship Alucia, have located the bodies of some of the passengers who perished when an Air France plane crashed off Brazil in 2009 and these bodies and wreckage will be brought to the surface in the next few weeks.

Air France flight 447, an Airbus 330-203 plane, plunged into the ocean en route to Paris from Rio de Janeiro in June 2009.

All 228 passengers and crew on board died, after the flight hit severe stormy weather and vanished.

Three Irish women were on board the ill fated flight that day, including  26 year old Roscrea, Co Tipperary native and  Trinity College graduate Dr Aisling Butler. Dr Butler had also been a much loved and a star pupil at the Ursuline Secondary School here in Thurles, and all our thoughts and prayers are with Aisling’s parents, John and Evelyn and her sister Lorna, at this difficult time.

The body of 27 year old Dr Jane Deasy, from Rathgar in Dublin, was recovered during the initial search operation. The body of  Dr Eithne Walls, from Ballygowan, Co Down, has also not yet been found.

Air France flight 447 wreckage

French Environment Minister, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, told a news conference that “bodies had been found and they will be recovered and identified.

Transport Minister Thierry Mariani said the ‘black box‘ flight recorders has not yet been located.

BEA chief Jean-Paul Troadec has said “we can only be happy that two years after the event there is now the hope we can find an explanation of what happened.

This the fourth search attempted since the crash, which is being carried out using unmanned submarines. Searchers can not yet quantify the number of bodies captured on photographs by these unmanned submarines, but families will be informed of the findings at a meeting at the end of this week and no further details would be made available to the public before then.

The discovery of chunks of the Air France wreckage in a vast search radius of some 10,000 square kilometres, has raised hopes that the aircraft’s black boxes might also be located during this search.

Air France and Airbus are financing the estimated €8.7m cost of the new search.

The plane disappeared after hitting stormy weather over the Atlantic a few hours into the flight and speculation about what caused the accident has, up until now, focused mainly on the possible icing up of the aircraft’s speed sensors.

Last month a French judge filed preliminary manslaughter charges against Air France and the plane’s manufacturer, Airbus.

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