Body recovered at Emiliano Sala's plane wreckage site
Authorities have recovered a body from the seabed wreckage of a plane that was carrying footballer Emiliano Sala and his pilot.
However, British air accident investigators have yet to say whether the body was that of Sala, who had just signed for Premier League club Cardiff, or pilot David Ibbotson.
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They were the only two people onboard the small aircraft that disappeared from radar over the English Channel last month.
The Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) says the body was recovered in “challenging conditions” with the “operation was carried out in as dignified a way as possible and the families were kept informed of progress.”
The body will be handed over to a coroner, and police are expected to provide a confirmed identity of the body after a full examination.
Investigators have not been able to recover the aircraft which was flying from Nantes to Cardiff after Sala transferred from the French city’s team to the Welsh capital’s Premier League club.
However, the AAIB says that video from a remote underwater vehicle “is expected to provide valuable evidence for our safety investigation.”
The plane vanished from radar around 20 kilometres north of Guernsey, with pilot Ibbotson the only other person aboard.
David Mearns, whose private company, Blue Water Recoveries, was hired by Sala’s family to search for the plane, said the wreck was spotted early Sunday.
The recovery of the body comes amid reports the French football club has demanded Cardiff make payment for the transfer of the player.
Sky Sports is reporting that Nantes have written to Cardiff, seeking the first instalment of the $A27m transfer – believed to be worth more than $A9m.
It’s understood Cardiff want to wait until the salvage operation and investigation into the disaster are completed, before discussing terms of payment.
The English Premier League club have sought legal advice and asked Nantes for more time to deal with the matter.