Emiliano Sala plane found in English Channel during search for Cardiff City footballer and pilot

Wreckage from the plane which disappeared with Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson on board has been found in the English Channel, search director David Mearns said.

Sunday, 3rd February 2019, 20:52 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 16:14 pm
A picture of Emiliano Sala is shown on the big screen in tribute to the missing footballer at Cardiff City Stadium during the Premier League match at the Cardiff City Stadium. Mark Kerton/PA Wire.

Mearns, a marine scientist who is directing the private search, said on Twitter: "Wreckage of the plane carrying Emiliano Sala and piloted by David Ibbotson was located early this morning by the FPV MORVEN.

"As agreed with the AAIB they moved the GEO OCEAN III over the position we provided them to visually identify the plane by ROV."

Mr Mearns added: "The families of Emiliano Sala and David Ibbotson have been notified by Police. The AAIB will be making a statement tomorrow. Tonight our sole thoughts are with the families and friends of Emiliano and David."

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Mearns said: "This is about the best result we could have hoped for the families.

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"But tonight they have heard devastating news and in respect of the families I won't comment any further about what has happened."

Argentina international Sala was a January transfer window signing by Cardiff from Nantes.

Cardiff played their first home match since the tragedy on Saturday since record £15million signing Sala and pilot David Ibbotson went missing after the plane carrying them over the English Channel disappeared on January 21.

Tributes were paid to the two men before kick-off against Bournemouth and the charged atmosphere appeared to galvanise Cardiff.

"The best," Cardiff manager Warnock replied when asked about the two performances since Sala's disappearance.

"I can't be more proud. If we didn't get another point this year, I'd still think the players have been amazing.

"I look around the dressing room, the characters and where they've come from, and know I couldn't ask any more of any of them.”

The search for Sala had been called off by authorities before being taken up at a private investigation.

Guernsey's harbour master Captain David Barker earlier confirmed the "difficult" decision to end the search, saying the chances of survival were "extremely remote".

The single-turbine engine Piper PA-46 Malibu left Nantes for Cardiff at 7.15pm last Monday, and after requesting to descend, lost contact with Jersey air traffic control.

Sheffield Wednesday forward and Sala’s countryman Fenando Forestieri took to Twitter to plead with police to keep up the search and to not lose faith.  In his message, spoken in Spanish, Forestieri urged rescue workers to continue their search for Sala and the pilot along accompanied by the hashtag ‘no paren de buscar’ (do not stop looking).