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June 14, 2009 file photo: workers unload debris, belonging to crashed Air France flight AF447, from the Brazilian Navy's Constitution Frigate in the port of Recife, northeast of Brazil. AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File via PA Images

Preliminary charges filed against Airbus over 2009 crash

Decision comes as search resumes at site where plane crashed in June 2009, killing 228 people, including three Irish women.

AIRBUS MAY BE charged with manslaughter over the crash of an Air France plane in which three young Irish doctors died.

The company made the Air France plane which crashed while flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on 1 June 2009, killing 228 poeple including Dr Aisling Butler, from Co Tipperary; Dr Eithne Walls, from Belfast; and Dr Jane Deasy, from Dublin.

The company was placed under formal investigations by Judge Sylvie Zimmerman over accusations of involuntary manslaughter related to the crash, the New York Times reports.  Under French law, this is not a criminal charge but can lead to a trial.

A new search for wreckage of the Airbus A330-200 off the coast of Brazil is to begin in the coming days in an effort to find the plane’s flight recorders.

Airbus and Air France have spent more than $27million (approx €19million) searching 2,800 square miles of seabed which has resulted in finding 600 pieces of debris and 51 bodies. They have pledged another $12.5 million (approx €9million) towards the search.

The recorders would give an insight into what caused the plane to go down in heavy thunderstorms.

The chief executive of Airbus, Tom Enders, said in a statement:

Airbus maintains that the focus should be on finding the cause of this accident and making sure it can never happen again

France is one of a small number of countries where prosecutions routinely take place following air crashes.

For more information read this story in today’s New York Times>