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Emiliano Sala: UK air investigators trying to recover a body from plane wreckage

CNN


UK Air investigators are attempting to recover a body from the wreckage of the plane found during the search for Cardiff City player Emiliano Sala.

A spokesman for the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) confirmed to CNN Wednesday that a body was trying to be recovered and, if successful, the AAIB would consider the feasibility of recovering the aircraft wreckage.

The AAIB revealed Monday that a body had been seen in the wreckage of the plane which was carrying the Argentine striker. There is yet no information as to whether the body is Sala’s or David Ibbotson, the pilot of the Piper Malibu plane.

Sala, 28, and the 59-year-old Ibbotson were flying in the single-turbine aircraft from Nantes, in northern France, to Cardiff in Wales, when it disappeared from radar near the Channel Islands on January 21.

The Argentine striker had recently signed with English Premier League club Cardiff City for a reported £15 million ($19.3 million) from French club Nantes and was heading to the Welsh capital after saying farewell to his former teammates in France.

Wreckage from the plane thought to be carrying the footballer was found Sunday by a privately funded search team working in close coordination with the AAIB.

On Sunday, the AAIB had also begun a three-day underwater search of an area four square nautical miles off the island of Guernsey.

David Mearns, a marine scientist leading the private search team hired by Sala’s family, said the wreckage of the plane had been located by sonar equipment at a depth of about 63 meters within the first couple of hours of starting Sunday’s search.

Experts on the larger vessel — Geo Ocean III — used by the air investigators confirmed it was the missing Piper Malibu aircraft.

Speaking on BBC’s Today show, Mearns said the wreckage was surprisingly intact and added that the family would “desperately” like the plane to be recovered.