Belfast Telegraph

Father of Irish doctor killed in plane crash to appeal dropping of manslaughter charge

Eithne Walls
Eithne Walls
Aisling Butler
Jane Deasy

By Niamh Lynch

The father of an Irish doctor who died in a plane disaster has said he is "disappointed" at a decision not to proceed with manslaughter charges against Air France and airline manufacturer Airbus.

Aisling Butler, from Roscrea in Co Tipperary, was among the 216 passengers and 12 crew members killed when Air France Flight 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris disappeared over the Atlantic on June 1, 2009.

Two other Irish doctors - Eithne Walls, from Saintfield, Co Down, and Jane Deasy, from Rathgar, Dublin - were also killed.

French magistrates decided not to pursue charges against Air France and Airbus due to lack of evidence.

Speaking to RTE's News at One, Dr Butler's father John said they weren't surprised at the verdict but "very, very disappointed".

"It is 10 years since we never got the body of Aisling back. It's one of those things that we're living with every day," said Mr Butler. "Everyone is responsible for what they do."

Mr Butler also confirmed that he would be joining the group of families that are appealing the decision.

Mr Butler also paid tribute to his "fantastic daughter".

"We were so lucky to have Aisling for the 26 years. Not a day goes by but we think of her. The pain is always there - it's like any pain, you just grow used to it and that's it.

"She just loved her medicine, she just wanted to do more and more. She had a fantastic love of people and she just wanted to bring her medicine to her patients and let them have the benefit of it," he said.

The Airbus 330 stalled in a storm and plunged into the ocean. Magistrates looking into manslaughter charges blamed the crew for losing control after speed sensors froze.

The French accident investigation bureau, the BEA, found that external speed sensors were frozen and produced irregular readings on the aircraft.

Neither Airbus nor Air France would comment on the judges' decision pending an appeal.

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