The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) in Britain announced late Wednesday, February 6th, the recovery of a body from the missing plane of the two persons who were aboard the flight of the Argentina-born professional soccer player, Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson. The agency did not disclose the identity of the body.
Sala, 28, had been en route from Nantes in western France on January 21st to make his debut for Premier League team Cardiff City when his jet disappeared over the English Channel, UK.
The wreckage was found on Sunday, February 3rd, following a privately-funded underwater search. Two seat cushions were discovered on the French coast that most probably belonged to the aircraft.
A body was visible inside the wreckage that was located on the seabed near Guernsey, air accident investigators said on Monday, February 4th.
The body was "successfully recovered" but attempts to recover the aircraft wreckage were unsuccessful, due to ‘poor weather conditions,’ according to the AAIB’s statement on Wednesday.
Sala had signed a 15-million-pound contract ($19.63 million) with Welsh club Cardiff from French Ligue One club Nantes. He and the pilot are believed to have died as the single-engine Piper Malibu aircraft crashed into the sea.
On Saturday, during Cardiff's home Premier League match against Bournemouth, the Cardiff players held up a T-shirt bearing the image of Sala, who never played a game for the club, after the team scored in the fifth minute.
Fans were handed daffodils as they entered the Cardiff City Stadium. In the 28th minute, a round of applause swelled around the stadium as fans sang Sala's name.
On January 30th, Nantes payed tribute to their former player. Referee Frank Schneider stopped play in the Ligue One match against St Etienne for a minute of applause during which Nantes coach Vahid Halilhodzic was in tears.