Sunday, 22 September, 2019

Emiliano Sala plane crash: Investigators attempt to recover body in wreckage

Marine scientist David Mearns Marine scientist David Mearns
Shannon Reynolds | 06 February, 2019, 00:57

The Piper Malibu N264DB carrying Sala (28) and Ibbotson (59) was discovered off the coast of Alderney in the English Channel on Sunday evening - nearly two weeks after it disappeared.

The families of the £15m striker and his pilot David Ibbotson are waiting to hear whose body is in the fuselage of the Piper Malibu that vanished in a storm two weeks ago.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) then sent down underwater cameras from the GEO Ocean III ship.

It was revealed on Monday that wreckage of the plane carrying the pair had been found in the English Channel, following a privately funded search.

In a statement the AAIB said: "the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) carried out a further search of the area overnight, but did not identify any additional pieces of wreckage".

"Tragically in video footage, one occupant is visible amid the wreckage".

A spokesperson for AAIB said: "We are attempting to recover the body".

The shipwreck hunter who found the remains of the plane on Sunday urged the authorities to urgently recover the body.

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The dog is believed to be one of the reasons for Sala's return to France after signing in Cardiff, as the striker also said farewell to his former teammates at Nantes before making his way back to Wales.

"Let's hope they can rescue it as soon as possible to find out what happened and have some sort of certainty", Horacio Sala, the footballer's father, told The Associated Press outside the family's home in Progreso, about 300 miles (500 kilometers) northwest of Buenos Aires.

Mr Mears approached the Sala family offering to look for the wreck after a crowdfunding page to look for the plane raised £340,000 (371,000 euros).

"At the moment we are still conducting research - all I can say is that an announcement will be made when we are able to", he said.

Local police called off the search after a few days, saying it was very unlikely anyone would still be found alive.

The mission, however, could be delayed due to bad weather and rescuers have discovered one body in the wreckage seen 220ft down - showing its blue and white identification number.

Bluebirds manager Neil Warnock said he felt Sala was "with" his team as they beat Bournemouth 2-0 in the Premier League on Saturday.

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