Body found amid Sala plane wreckage as search continues

Jo Caldwell
February 7, 2019

A body is visible in seabed video footage of the wreckage of the plane which crashed in the English Channel with Cardiff footballer Emiliano Sala on board.

Britain's Air Accident Investigation Branch did not say on Monday if the underwater camera identified Sala or pilot David Ibbotson, the only two people on board the small aircraft that disappeared from radar over the English Channel on January 21 as it flew from the French city of Nantes to Cardiff, Wales.

A remotely operated vehicle (ROV) conducted a further search of the area overnight on Sunday and the AAIB says footage shows one of the aircraft's occupants within the wreckage. The AAIB have not been able to identify whether the individual in the plane is Sala or Ibbotson, however, but are working with the police and the families of both men to determine the next steps of the investigation.

Mearns said his private company, Blue Water Recoveries, had found the wreckage before calling in the AAIB to take a closer look.

A search boat hired privately by the striker's family - thanks partly to a crowdfunding appeal - located the downed plane on Sunday.

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Sala's father Horacio spoke with local broadcaster Cronica TV after the wreckage of the plane was discovered.

Yesterday Mearns tweeted: "The families of Emiliano Sala and (pilot) David Ibbotson have been notified by police".

The wreckage was found 220ft down on the bed of the English Channel and as per few reports, it was revealed that a victim has been found in the wreckage but it's unclear if it's of the pilot or of the footballer.

Sala was on his way to join his new Cardiff City teammates having sealed a deal to join the Premier league side during the winter transfer window.

Working jointly with the AAIB, Mr Mearns's ship and another search vessel, the Geo Ocean III, began combing a four square mile area of the channel, 24 nautical miles north of Guernsey.

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The two captains laid floral tributes on the halfway line before what the club called a "silent reflection".

At its first home game since the plane disappeared, Cardiff paid tribute to Sala before a 2-0 victory over Bournemouth on Saturday.

Suspected debris from the plane washed up on the Normandy coastline on Wednesday.

Manager Neil Warnock was overcome with emotion at the end of the match and said, "I'm really proud, and I'm sure he would have been".

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