Sunday 17 February 2019

Private team find wreck of missing player's plane

Sympathy: A tribute show to Emiliano Sala on the big screen during Cardiff’s game in the FA Cup at Swansea’s stadium last week. Photo: Simon Galloway/PA Wire.
Sympathy: A tribute show to Emiliano Sala on the big screen during Cardiff’s game in the FA Cup at Swansea’s stadium last week. Photo: Simon Galloway/PA Wire.

Tom Gray

The wreckage of the plane carrying the missing Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala has been found almost two weeks after it disappeared.

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 carrying 28-year-old Sala and pilot David Ibbotson (59) disappeared over the English Channel on January 21 after leaving Nantes in France for Cardiff.

Two vessels, including one commissioned by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), using sonar had been taking part in a fresh search covering an area of around four square nautical miles.

Mr Mearns, the director of Blue Water Recoveries, led a team on the search vessel FPV Morven while the AAIB also sent a team aboard the Geo Ocean III.

"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," Mr Mearns tweeted.

"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."

The privately funded operation on behalf of the Sala family was made possible after a campaign raised more than £260,000 (€300,000) to fund it.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Mearns said: "This is about the best result we could have hoped for the families."

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News