*Micheál Ryan’s remains return home. Photograph: Virgin Media News
There was “a sense of relief” for the Ryan family of Lahinch as they buried Micheál, seven months on from his tragic death in Ethiopia.
Micheál Ryan was on board an Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed on 10 March in Addis Ababa. There were no survivors after the Boeing 737 crashed shortly after takeoff en route to Nairobi in Kenya, it was carrying 149 passengers and eight crew members.
A married father of two, Micheál worked as Deputy Chief Engineer with the United Nations’ World Food Programme on projects in the developing world. He died two weeks before his fortieth birthday.
His remains were recovered from Ethiopia last week with officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs notifying the Ryan family at the beginning of October.
On Sunday, his mother Christine and brother Tiarnan flew to Addis Ababa to bring the remains home to Clare. Upon landing in Dublin Airport on Tuesday from Frankfurt, they were welcomed by President Michael D Higgins’ Aide de Camp Liam Condon and Amir Abdulla, Deputy Executive Director of the World Food Programme.
From there, they made the journey home where a guard of honour of students from Scoil Mhuire Ennistymon and Ennistymon CBS formed a guard of honour in Lahinch along with friends and neighbours of the deceased. A private burial took place in Ennistymon Cemetery.
Speaking ahead of the repatriation, Christine Ryan said of her late son, “He’s coming back as a UN hero because of all the lives he has saved”. She admitted that the trip was “emotionally draining” but offered some healing for the family. “We all have a sense of relieve that the remains have been found and that we can bring him home”.
On how she would like Micheál to be remembered, the former secondary school teacher stated, “As a very caring person who cared about humanity and was concerned for people and the betterment of situations”.