Two Irish detectives are being sent to Brazil to help identify the bodies pulled from the Atlantic Ocean after the Air France disaster, it was announced today.
The victim identification experts, one of whom worked on the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, hope DNA and dental records will allow them to repatriate the remains of the three Irish and five British people lost in the crash.
Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said while no words could comfort the grieving families, the recovery of their loved ones’ remains would help bring a small measure of closure for them.
“I spoke with the Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy last night and two experienced technical experts are to assist the Brazilian authorities,” he revealed.
“They will help identify the three Irish victims and others who so tragically lost their lives.”
A detective inspector and detective sergeant from the Garda Technical Bureau are being sent to the scene of the recovery operation within the next 24 hours.
“The Garda have a wealth of experience in this area and provided invaluable assistance in the aftermath of the tsunami,” said Mr Ahern.
The Irish and British victims were among 228 people – including 12 crew, a baby and seven children – thought to have perished in the world’s worst aviation disaster since 2001.
The three Irish women – all doctors who had graduated from Trinity College Dublin – were on the plane with a Welsh female friend.
Former Riverdance performer Eithne Walls, 28, from Ballygowan, Co Down, was travelling with her friends Aisling Butler, 26, of Roscrea, Co Tipperary, and Jane Deasy of Dublin, who was also in her 20s.