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Plane tragedy Air France and Airbus to stand trial over 2009 Rio-Paris crash in which three Irish women died

  • Air France and Airbus are to stand trial over the June 1 2009 Rio de Janeiro-Paris crash
  • Both Air France and Airbus say they will appeal the court ruling
  • Three Irish women and a young Estonian man living in Dublin were among those killed in tragedy
  • A report in 2014 revealed that the two senior pilots were sleeping just moments before the airliner hit the Atlantic in 2009

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Irish victims of the Air France crash Jane Deasy, Eithne Walls and Aisling Butler

Irish victims of the Air France crash Jane Deasy, Eithne Walls and Aisling Butler

Irish victims of the Air France crash Jane Deasy, Eithne Walls and Aisling Butler

Air France and Airbus are to stand trial over the June 1 2009 Rio de Janeiro-Paris crash, which killed 228 people, a judicial source from the prosecutor's department said on Wednesday.

Three Irish women and a young Estonian man living in Dublin died on the flight.

The court, ruling on a request from French prosecutors, overturned a previous ruling that there should not be a trial.

An Air France representative said the carrier may appeal the court ruling. Airbus, the manufacturer of the aircraft involved, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Air France flight AF447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris crashed on June 1 2009. Everyone on board was killed.

French investigators found the crew mishandled loss of speed readings from sensors blocked with ice from a storm, and caused the aircraft to stall by holding its nose too high.

Aisling Butler (26), from Roscrea, Co Tipperary, Jane Deasy (27) from Dublin and Eithne Walls (28) from Co Down all died in the crash.

The close friends had studied medicine together in Trinity College and remained friends after graduating in 2007.

Maksim Ivanova (25), originally from Estonia but living in Dublin, also perished in the tragedy.

His Dublin-based mother Lidia Ivanova was later awarded €68,000 in High Court damages in 2013.

Ms Ivanova, a ground operative with Aer Lingus, had come to Ireland in 2005 and her son joined her the following year.

As a result of her son's death, Ms Ivanova experienced tremendous sadness and upset plus the support her son used to give her in the course of her day to day activities.

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Ms Justice Mary Irvine awarded Ms Ivanova, a native of Estonia with an address in Swords, Co Dublin, some €68,000 arising from her son's death.

Air France flight 447 was travelling from Rio de Janeiro to Paris when it crashed.

The investigation showed that the aircraft’s speed recorders had frozen during a storm over the south Atlantic.

The pilots were unaware they had stalled the plane and it crashed into the ocean.

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A report in 2014 revealed that the two senior pilots were sleeping just moments before the airliner hit the Atlantic in 2009. Previously unheard recordings taken from the wreck of the aeroplane indicate one of the pilot's final words were: "F***, we're dead."

The recording was just moments after 58-year-old Captain Marc Dubois and 37-year-old co-pilot David Robert woke to find 32-year-old Pierre-Cedric Bonin, the least experienced of the three pilots on board, had lost control of the plane.

The 2014 report, published in Vanity Fair, quoted the chief investigator into the crash, Alain Bouillard.

"If the captain had stayed in position through the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone, it would have delayed his sleep by no more than 15 minutes and . . . maybe the story would have ended differently," Mr Bouillard said.

After waking up, Mr Dubois entered the cockpit one minute and 38 seconds after a technical malfunction had occurred on board. The plane was suffering from a loss of lift, known as a 'stall', and the pilots attempted to raise the nose of the Airbus 330, instead of lowering it. The report says recordings from the flight reveal Mr Robert said: "F***, we're going to crash! It's not true!"

Soon after, either Mr Robert or Mr Bonin are heard to say: "F***, we're dead." Air France declined to comment at the time.

A documentary on Amazon entitled In Search of Flight AF447 was released to coincide with the 10-year anniversary of the crash.

It documents the two-year search in parts of the deepest ocean for the wreckage of the aircraft over a 17,000sq km area.

The mystery was only solved when the black box flight data and voice recorders were recovered from the bottom of the ocean.

French journalist Florence de Changy, who documented the 2014 MH370 flight disappearance in her book ‘The Disappearing Act’, also detailed the AF447 search in one of the deepest parts of the Atlantic Ocean.

More to follow

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