Emiliano Sala: Body seen in wreckage in search for missing footballer


A body has been seen in the wreckage of the plane which was carrying missing footballer Emiliano Sala, the UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has said.

Underwater searches were carried out using specialist vessels on February 3 over the priority search area and, according to AAIB, uncovered an “object of interest” on the seabed.

A remotely operated vehicle surveyed the area and, based on analysis of the video footage, investigators have concluded that the object was wreckage from the missing Piper Malibu aircraft.

The statement said: “Tragically, in video footage from the ROV [Remotely Operated Vehicle], one occupant is visible amidst the wreckage.”The AAIB is now considering the next steps, in consultation with the families of the pilot and passenger, and the police.”

In this image released Monday Feb. 4 by the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) showing the rear left side of the fuselage including part of the aircraft registration N264DBIn the statement, the AAIB said the image showed the rear left side of the fuselage — the main body of the aircraft — and part of the registration.”We intend to publish an interim report within one month of the accident occurring,” it added.

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Sala, 28, and pilot David Ibbotson, 59, were flying in the single-turbine aircraft from Nantes, in northern France, to Cardiff, in Wales, when it disappeared from radar near the Channel Islands on January 21.The Argentine Sala had recently signed with English Premier League club Cardiff City for a reported £15 million ($19.3 million) from French club Nantes and was heading to the Welsh capital after saying farewell to his former teammates in France.

Wreckage from the plane thought to be carrying the Argentine footballer was found Sunday by a privately funded search team working in close coordination with the AAIB.On Sunday, the AAIB also began a three-day underwater search of an area four square nautical miles off the island of Guernsey.The official search operation was called off on January 24 after Guernsey’s harbor master, Captain David Barker, said “the chances of survival at this stage are extremely remote.”The decision prompted tearful pleas from Sala’s family, who urged officials to “use all means possible” to find out what happened to the plane that had requested descent on passing Guernsey, but disappeared from radar at about 2,300 feet.On January 30 seat cushions believed to be from the missing plane were found on a beach near Surtainville, on the northwest coast of France.More to follow.

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