Emiliano Sala plane wreckage found in Channel


Emiliano Sala and David Ibbotson.
./David Ibbotson


Emiliano Sala (left) was on board a plane being flown by pilot David Ibbotson

Wreckage from a plane carrying Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala has been been discovered in the English Channel.

The Piper Malibu disappeared on 21 January on its way from Nantes, France to Cardiff, with the Argentine striker and pilot David Ibbotson on board.

David Mearns, who directed a privately-funded search operation on behalf of the Sala family, said the wreckage was located this morning off Guernsey.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch are at the site to recover the plane.

In a series of tweets, marine scientist Mr Mearns said: “The families of Emiliano Sala and David Ibbotson have been notified by police.”

He added: “Tonight our sole thoughts are with the families and friends of Emiliano and David.”

  • Nantes pay tribute to missing Sala
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Sala, 28, and Mr Ibbotson, 59, from Crowle, North Lincolnshire, were travelling from Nantes, where Sala previously played, when the flight was lost.

Cushions believed to be from the plane were found on a beach near Surtainville, on France’s Cotentin Peninsula, last week.

There were emotional tributes to the footballer as Cardiff played their first home game since the disappearance earlier on Saturday.

An online appeal had raised £324,000 for the private search, which began on Sunday.

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

Rich Watson / Geoxyz


Geo Ocean III remains at the wreckage location off Guernsey

The AAIB ship has remained at the site where the missing Piper plane was located, to deploy an underwater search vehicle to make a visual confirmation.

A recovery operation will then begin.

Officials at the AAIB said they expected to give an update on the operation on Monday morning.

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Media captionFans pay tribute to missing footballer Sala at the first home Cardiff City match since he disappeared