Northern Ireland

Air France recorder may hold vital clues to plane crash

Image caption Eithne Walls, 28, was a doctor and a talented dancer

Search teams have recovered the cockpit voice recorder from an Air France plane that crashed into the Atlantic nearly two years ago.

Eithne Walls, a doctor from Ballygowan in County Down, was one of 228 people who died when the jet travelling from Rio de Janeiro to Paris crashed into the Atlantic on 1 June 2009.

Her body has never been recovered.

The 28-year-old had been on holiday with two friends from the Republic of Ireland.

They were Aisling Butler, from Roscrea, County Tipperary, and Jane Deasy from Dublin.

The three women had graduated in medicine from Trinity College Dublin in 2007 and were returning from holiday.

Dr Walls, who worked in the Dublin Eye and Ear Hospital, was also a talented Irish dancer. She had spent a year with Riverdance on Broadway, New York, before going on to university.

French air accident investigators hope that the recorder will be able to provide vital information about what caused the crash.

However, there are also doubts over whether vital information could be preserved after more than 18 months underwater, the French defence ministry has said.

The hunt for the wreckage around 1,500 miles north-east of the Brazilian port of Recife resumed in March after initial searches found only 50 bodies and hundreds of small fragments of the smashed aircraft.

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