Authorities searching for missing Cardiff footballer Emiliano Sala have found a body in the wreckage of the plane, air accident investigators confirmed on Monday.
The wreckage of the plane that went missing off Guernsey while carrying Argentine striker Sala, 28, and pilot David Ibbotson, 59, was found on the seabed of the English Channel on Sunday.
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It is not clear at this stage whether the body discovered is Sala’s or Ibbotson’s.
“Based on analysis of ROV (underwater remotely operated vehicle) video footage, the AAIB investigators on board the vessel concluded that the object is wreckage from the missing Piper Malibu aircraft,” Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch said in a statement.
“Tragically, in video footage from the ROV, 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.”
Sala disappeared on Jan. 21 when their aircraft vanished from radar en route to Cardiff from Nantes. An official search for the Piper Malibu plane was called off after three days and Guernsey harbour master David Barker said the chances of finding survivors were “extremely remote.”
Following a crowdfunding campaign, the search for the pair was reopened on Jan. 27, and in conjunction with a privately funded vessel, the AAIB begun exploring an area about 24 nautical miles north of Guernsey on Sunday at 9 a.m. GMT.
Cushions likely to have come from the plane were discovered on a beach in France near Surtainville on the Cotentin Peninsula by French authorities on Wednesday.
Cardiff beat Bournemouth 2-0 on Saturday in their first home match since the disappearance of their record £15 million signing.
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. Knowing the lad, Emiliano, as I did, I knew he would be with us today.
“I was very emotional. I was all right until the final whistle went and I went on the pitch. The last 10 days or whatever it is, I can’t begin to explain to you how difficult it has been.
“Every fan stayed, and the noise volume was amazing. I’ve never seen or heard anything like it, and I will remember it for the rest of my life, really.”