Wreckage found of plane carrying footballer Emiliano Sala

The missing plane carrying Argentinian footballer Emiliano Sala and his pilot has been found, investigators told AFP on Sunday.

“I can confirm it has been found,” a spokeswoman for Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said.

She said the AAIB would issue a statement on Monday.

Sala was travelling from France to join up with his new club, Premier League side Cardiff City, in a light aircraft on January 21 when it went missing close to the Channel Islands.

Suspected debris from the plane washed up on the Normandy coastline in France last Wednesday.

Sala’s disappearance has rocked the football world. Pic: Getty

Sala was flying in the Piper PA-46 Malibu plane after transferring from French team Nantes in a 17 million euro ($19.3 million) move.

It vanished from radar around 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of Guernsey, with pilot Dave 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 on Twitter that the wreck was spotted early Sunday.

Sala was flying in the Piper PA-46 Malibu plane after transferring from French team Nantes in a 17-million-euro ($19.3-million) move to the Premier League club.

Rescue workers suspended the official search for the aircraft last Thursday after an intensive hunt involving planes and boats failed to locate it.

Cardiff manager Neil Warnock said Emiliano Sala would have been “really proud” of the team after they beat Bournemouth 2-0 in their first home match since the plane carrying their new Argentine signing disappeared.

Fans have been laying tributes to Sala outside Cardiff’s stadium. Pic: Getty

Programme notes, penned by owner Vincent Tan and the rest of the Bluebirds’ board, said events had shaken “Cardiff City to its very core” and that they were now playing for Sala and pilot David Ibbotson.

There were a series of heartfelt tributes before kick-off, with Sala’s photograph appearing on the front cover of the matchday programme and the two captains, Sol Bamba and Andrew Surman, laying floral tributes on the halfway line before what the club called a “silent reflection”.

Sala’s name, in the colours of his native Argentina, was also spelled out behind one of the goals as supporters held cards aloft.

Bobby Reid scored a fifth-minute penalty and the Cardiff players celebrated by running towards the dug-out to hold up a blue shirt bearing Sala’s photograph.

Reid scored again just after half-time, racing onto a pass from Aron Gunnarsson to roll the ball home.

“The crowd were amazing and it’s been a very emotional 10 days,” Cardiff boss Warnock told BT Sport.

“It can’t be helped and I thought we played well against a decent team like Bournemouth. We worked on a system and it worked a treat today.