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Saturday 22 July 2017

Victim's father hopes doomed flight's recorder 'brings closure'

Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

THE father of an Irish doctor who died on an Air France flight two years ago has said he hopes the discovery of the plane's voice recorder will help bring closure for the family.

John Butler, father of 26-year-old Aisling, from Roscrea, Co Tipperary, also said he hoped information gained from the recorder would help prevent future tragedies.

He was speaking as search parties recovered the second of two black-box recorders from the aircraft that crashed into the Atlantic in June 2009.

Air France flight 447 went down while en route to Paris from Rio de Janeiro after encountering stormy weather.

Dr Butler and two of her friends were returning home from a holiday and were on the plane when it crashed, killing all 228 people on board.

The two other Irish women -- Dr Jane Deasy (27), from Rathgar, Co Dublin; and Dr Eithne Walls (28), from Ballygowan, Co Down -- also died.

The plane's audio recorder was recovered yesterday, two days after the data recorder was pulled on to the deck of a search ship off the coast of Brazil.

Mr Butler told the Irish Independent he hoped the discovery would bring closure for the family.

He said: "I believe they have a number of other computers that they need to lay their hands on as well. After that they move on to the next phase, which I hope is the recovery of bodies, if that can be done.

"While it's a good thing, of course, to have found it and raised it, I hope the girls didn't suffer that much.

"Our concern at the moment is: will they recover Aisling's body?"

The crash site was so remote and in such a deep area of the Atlantic that the bulk of the wreckage was only recently discovered.

It is hoped the recoveries will explain why the Airbus 330-203 crashed. The voice recorder should contain the cockpit conversations during the flight's final moments.

Crash

A spokesman for France's BEA air accident inquiry office said the outside of the box appeared to be in "relatively good shape".

"We can now hope to find out what truly happened -- within the next three weeks," French transport minister Thierry Mariani said yesterday.

Investigators have said the crash was likely caused by a series of problems, and not just sensor error.

Lawyers have said information from the black boxes could lead to a flood of liability claims, depending on the data that can be retrieved.

Any fresh conclusions on the cause will also be fed into a judicial inquiry that is already under way, in which Airbus and Air France have been placed under formal investigation.

Irish Independent

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