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Missing plane: Body identified as Emiliano Sala

Missing plane: Body identified as Emiliano Sala

Friday 08 February 2019

Missing plane: Body identified as Emiliano Sala

The body recovered from a plane wreck off the coast of Alderney was that of missing footballer Emiliano Sala, police have confirmed.

The Premier League footballer went missing last month as he travelled from his former club Nantes FC to Cardiff, where he had just signed a record deal, but the plane went off-radar over the Channel Islands.

After an extensive search and rescue operation, the wreckage of the Piper Malibu aircraft he had been flying in with pilot Dave Ibbotson was found under the sea.

A recovery operation was attempted, and in "challenging conditions" the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) and its specialist contractors successfully recovered the body.

It was taken to Portland to be passed into the care of the Dorset Coroner.

Dorset Police confirmed last night in a statement that it was that of Emiliano Sala.

It read:

The body brought to Portland Port today, Thursday 7 February 2019, has been formally identified by HM Coroner for Dorset as that of professional footballer Emiliano Sala.

The families of Mr Sala and the pilot David Ibbotson have been updated with this news and will continue to be supported by specially-trained family liaison officers. Our thoughts remain with them at this difficult time.

HM Coroner will continue to investigate the circumstances of this death supported by Dorset Police. 

On Monday 21 January 2019 a plane carrying both men was flying from Nantes to Cardiff when it lost contact with Air Traffic Control, north of Guernsey. 
Sadly a search and rescue operation was unsuccessful in locating the plane and the two occupants. Subsequently AAIB and privately funded search teams were deployed to the relevant area. Using specialist equipment the teams succeeded in locating and identifying the plane and recovering Mr Sala's body.

Mr Sala's body was the only one to have been seen in the wreckage, which could not be removed from the water due to poor weather conditions.

The location of Mr Ibbotson, who is presumed dead, remains unknown.

However, the AAIB said that they had captured enough video footage to be able to assist them in their investigation into what happened.

Its inquiries are expected to continue, with an interim report due to be published within one month of the accident occurring.

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