Tuesday 16 January 2018

Father may sue airline over death of daughter

Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

THE family of an Irish doctor killed when an Air France jet plunged into the Atlantic in 2009 is considering legal action against the airline.

John Butler told the Irish Independent that the report into the tragedy, which found that pilot error was in part to blame, did not surprise him.

Mr Butler's daughter Aisling (26), from Roscrea, Co, Tipperary, along with Jane Deasy (27), from Rathgar in Dublin, and Eithne Walls (28), from Ballygowan, Co Down, all died in the crash.

The three friends were flying home from a holiday in Brazil when the plane, flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, went down in the middle of the night, killing all 228 people on board.

"We're heartbroken but we're just trying to get on with our lives," Mr Butler said yesterday.

But he added that legal action against Air France was still under active consideration.

"Whatever we need to do, we'll do it," he said.

France's air-accident investigation agency has recommended better pilot training and stricter plane-certification rules following its three-year probe into the crash.

In a report published yesterday, it lists a combination of "human and technical factors" behind the crash .

One mistake highlighted was that one of the co-pilots nosed the Airbus A330 upward during a stall. The nose should have been pulled downward but false information was being provided from sensors about the plane's position.

Chief investigator Alain Bouillard said the two pilots at the controls did not understood that the plane was in a stall.

He found that only an experienced crew with a clear understanding of the situation could have stabilised the plane in those conditions.


"In this case, the crew was in a state of near-total loss of control," he added.

A heated debate over who is to blame for the crash has been ongoing. Both Air France and Airbus have been handed preliminary manslaughter charges.

A second, 356-page judicial report into the crash is due to be presented to victims' families on Tuesday. It is understood that the report has found that speed sensors froze and failed but also that the "captain failed in his duties" and "prevented the co-pilot from reacting".

Mr Butler will not travel to France for the publication of the report but he said he was in contact with the families of other victims and that they would keep him updated.

He said: "We miss our darling Aisling to bits and have to endure that pain. The other families are in the same boat."

Mr Butler criticised the pilots as careless and unprofessional.

Irish Independent

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