Saturday 19 October 2019

'He was at risk in his work, we didn't expect him to be at risk on a domestic flight' - friend of Michael Ryan pays tribute

Michael Ryan, from Ireland, was working as an engineer for the WFP (PA)
Michael Ryan, from Ireland, was working as an engineer for the WFP (PA)
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

A FRIEND of Michael 'Mick' Ryan says he risked his life by trying to help others and his death on a domestic flight is a "real tragedy".

Johnny Hegarty, of Save Cork City campaign group, said the community is in "terrible shock".

Michael 'Mick' Ryan, who worked as a development aid worker with the United Nations, was the only Irish citizen on board the four-month-old aircraft that crashed yesterday en route from Ethiopia to Kenya, resulting in the deaths of all 157 passengers and crew.

"Mick was doing good around the world which was great and that's what drove him in his life - to do good. He really thought about people being the benefactors of everything that was done and that's what makes it very tragic. He was often at risk in his work for the UN and we wouldn't have expected him to be at risk on an ordinary domestic flight," Mr Hegarty told Cork's 96FM.

"I don't know anyone who didn't like him, I know people say that in these circumstances but it is so true in his case. He just literally wanted to help people

"He was a great representation of Ireland abroad as a person doing good. It's a real tragedy, it's a real loss, he's a great loss to Cork and as a friend."

Mr Hegarty spoke about the dangers of Mr Ryan's work and how his death in a plane crash was so unexpected.

"In his work abroad he's been shot at and been in perilous situations... it's a real tragedy."

Mr Ryan, a native of Lahinch, Co Clare, and a father of two young children, had recently been living in Cork.

The Clare man worked as an engineer with the UN World Food Programme (WFP) over recent years.

He had just redeployed to the WFP Rome office. He and his wife Naoise were due to move to Italy soon with their children from their home in Cork city. He died along with six of his WFP colleagues in the crash.

Earlier today, the cockpit voice recorder was recovered from the Ethiopian Airlines plane, Ethiopian state TV said.

Investigators at the crash site recovered the recorder.

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