Family resigned to never finding Eithne

Family resigned to never finding Eithne

16 November 2011 - by CIARA COLHOUN

A BALLYGOWAN family has been forced to give up hope of finding the body of a much-missed sister and daughter.

Eithne Walls was one of 228 people who died when an Air France plane travelling from Rio de Janeiro to Paris crashed into the Atlantic almost two-and-a-half years ago.

She died alongside two friends, fellow medical doctors Jane Deasy, from Dublin, and Aisling Butler, from Tipperary. The trio were returning from a holiday when the crash occurred on June 1, 2009.

French aviation authorities last week confirmed they have successfully identified 153 victims recovered from the site of the crash, including 103 passengers whose remains were brought up from the crash site in April. Eithne’s family, which includes her parents Mary and Raymond and three siblings, have now been told 28 year-old Eithne is not among those victims.

They said this confirmation has “extinguished” their last glimmer of hope for her return as authorities have said there will be no more searches.

At the time of the accident, the Walls family spoke movingly of the loss of their “dearest daughter and sister.”

“We will miss your easy smile. We will miss your loving embrace. We will miss your happy hello and we will miss your dancing feet. We will miss your silliness, your wit and your hugs,” they said.

They have now spoken of being “intensely saddened” to learn she has not been found.

“It has always been our most fervent wish that Eithne would be brought home to us,” they said.

“The last glimmer of hope for her return to us has now been extinguished and we must now take time to reconcile ourselves to this further devastating news.”

Eithne’s family said they were comforted to know she was not alone, after Aisling’s family were also informed she too has not been found. Jane Deasy’s body was recovered at the time of the tragedy.

“We take some comfort from knowing that Eithne is resting with her close friend, classmate and colleague Aisling,” they said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Aisling’s family and the families of all passengers.

“We mourn Eithne’s loss every day and we mourn the future that we will never have with her.”

The family said they prayed that the continuing investigation would “clearly and comprehensively reveal the cause of the accident” and ensure it is not repeated.