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'We called him the rockstar'

Wednesday, 13th March, 2019 4:48pm

Cork resident Mícheál Ryan was remembered this week after he was one of the 157 victims of the tragic Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday.

Mícheál ‘Mick’ Ryan had been living at Pope’s Quay in the city centre with his wife and children and was part of the Save Cork City group, who lobby against the Office of Public Work’s flood defence plans for Cork city.

Seán Antóin Ó Muirí from the Save Cork City group told the Cork Independent: “Mick was a generous, gregarious and engaging person. He put people first and always had time and patience to discuss things with everyone. Despite all his achievements, he had a unique ability of being able to deal with people on their level. He was an engineer but an engineer who wore an AC-DC t-shirt. We called him the rockstar.

“Mick loved the water, too, and was never afraid to chip in about the fact he was a former surfing champion. Finally, more importantly than all this, he was a loving husband and father. It was an honour to have known him and our deepest sympathies go to his family and friends at this difficult time.”

Mr Ryan was originally from Clare and worked for the United Nations World Food Programme.

His mother, Christine, spoke to ‘Morning Ireland’ on RTÉ Radio 1 this week. “He basically wanted to save the world,” she told listeners.

“I knew he was going on a flight to Nairobi but I didn’t realise he was the flight that crashed until Naoise, his wife, contacted me and told me he was definitely on the flight. I was hoping that he wasn’t on the flight that he might have been on a different one.

“He was an amazing person and we still can’t come to terms with this. Everyone is just devastated. No one can believe that this has happened. It’s so difficult to come to terms with.”

The Boeing 737 MAX aircraft flight he was on was bound for Nairobi and came down near the town of Bishoftu in Ethiopia. The jet left the airport at 8.38am local time before losing contact with the control tower at 8.44am.

There is now worldwide controversy over the safety of the Boeing 737 MAX as this is the second incident to happen on this type of aircraft in a few months.

The Lion Air plane crashed into the sea off Indonesia last year, in which 189 people died.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) decided on Tuesday to temporarily suspend the operation of all variants of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft into and out of Irish airspace.

This decision was based on ensuring the continued safety of passengers and flight crew.

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