Footballer Emiliano Sala death: Debris of crashed plane found deep in the ocean

Updated: Feb 05, 2019, 16:33 IST | AFP

Investigators spot body amid debris after underwater search recovers wreckage of missing footballer's plane

Footballer Emiliano Sala death: Debris of crashed plane found deep in the ocean
Fans pay tribute in front of a portrait of Emilianio Sala in Nantes, France recently. Pic/Getty Images

British investigators yesterday said they had spotted a body in the wreckage of a plane that disappeared in the Channel two weeks ago carrying Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala and his pilot.

Sala, 28, was flying from France to join his new club, Premier League side Cardiff City, when the light aircraft disappeared on January 21 north of the island of Guernsey.


An image from the video footage released yesterday shows wreckage of the missing aircraft that was carrying footballer Emiliano Sala lying on the seabed under the English Channel. Pic/AFP
An image from the video footage released yesterday shows wreckage of the missing aircraft that was carrying footballer Emiliano Sala lying on the seabed under the English Channel. Pic/AFP

A wreck was found on the seabed on Sunday and closer inspection by a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) confirmed both that it was the missing plane, and that a body was inside. "Tragically, in video footage from the ROV, one occupant is visible amidst the wreckage," the British government's Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) said in a statement. "The AAIB is now considering the next steps, in consultation with the families of the pilot and passenger, and the police."

The AAIB also released a grainy image showing a part of the fuselage with the aircraft registration. The depth indicated on the image was 67.7 metres (222 feet). Local police called off the search after a few days. But Sala's family launched a crowd-funding campaign for a private search, which raised over 300,000 euros.

They hired shipwreck hunter David Mearns, whose vessel used sonar equipment to identify the plane wreckage on Sunday morning within a few hours of starting the search. "Based on analysis of ROV video footage, the AAIB investigators on board the vessel concluded that the object is wreckage from the missing Piper Malibu aircraft," the AAIB said.

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