DISCOVERED Pilot David Ibbotson was the only other person on board the plane, which disappeared more than a fortnight ago The plane carrying Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson has been found, their families have been told. Marine scientist David Mearns, who directed a privately-funded search operation north of Guernsey on behalf…
Pilot David Ibbotson was the only other person on board the plane, which disappeared more than a fortnight ago
The plane carrying Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson has been found, their families have been told.
Marine scientist David Mearns, who directed a privately-funded search operation north of Guernsey on behalf of the Sala family, said the wreckage of the plane was “located earlier this morning”.
The Piper Malibu N264DB carrying 28-year-old footballer Sala and pilot Ibbotson, 59, disappeared over the English Channel on January 21 after leaving Nantes in France for Cardiff.
Two vessels, including one commissioned by the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch using sonar, had been taking part in a fresh search covering an area of around four square nautical miles after funds were raised for an underwater investigation to take place.
Once the plane was identified, the families were notified and a AAIB vessel has stayed in the area to oversee recovery.
Mr Mearns, the marine scientist 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. #EmilianoSala.”
He 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.
“This is about the best result we could have hoped for the families. But tonight they have heard devastating news and in respect of the families I won’t comment any further about what has happened.”
Sala had been on his way to Cardiff from Nantes on January 21, having signed for the Premier League club for £15million just two days earlier, when the plane he was travelling on disappeared off the radar.
The plane had requested to descend before it lost contact with Jersey air traffic control.
An official search operation was called off on January 24 after Guernsey’s harbour master Captain David Barker said the chances of survival following such a long period were “extremely remote”.
Two seat cushions, which are likely to have come from the plane, were found earlier this week.
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