Friends of the three young Irish doctors exchanged text messages and checked personal websites on Monday night desperate to know if the women were abroad the ill-fated Air France jet.
The graduates from Trinity College Dublin (TCD) had their worst fears confirmed when the names of Aisling Butler, Jane Deasy and Eithne Walls flashed on their TV screens.
A doctor who attended TCD with the young women said all of the girls’ friends, who are spread in hospitals throughout the Republic, were texting each other to find out if the group had arrived home safely from their holiday in Brazil.
“Some of them were on a different flight and we were relieved after we checked Facebook, they said ‘glad to be home’,” she said.
“But then we were worried about the rest of the group and were watching the news and checking the text, it was only when their names came up on the screen around 11pm that we knew.”
She said Aisling, Jane and Eithne and another girl, Martha, who was not on board the flight, were “four best friends”.
“It’s unbelievable, everybody is shocked, it’s really awful,” added the friend.