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Emiliano Sala crash: fuselage of plane with one body on still on board pictured on seabed

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 04/02/2019 Megan White
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Watch: What we know so far (PA)

One body has been found on board the wreckage of the plane which went down in the Channel carrying footballer Emiliano Sala.

The AAIB issued the first image of the plane on the seabed on Monday morning.

Investigators did not say whether the remains were those of the Cardiff City footballer or pilot David Ibbotson.  The wreckage of Sala's plane underwater ( AAIB ) © Evening Standard The wreckage of Sala's plane underwater ( AAIB )

Related: Meet the shipwreck hunter who found Sala's plane (Sky)

The plane was found around 4.20pm on Sunday, according to a timestamp on the image.

Emiliano Sala was travelling to Cardiff from Nantes on January 21 when the light aircraft he was in disappeared over the English Channel. A full report into the incident will be published within the next month.

Related: Sala dad's anguish as wreckage found (Sky)

A statement from the AAIB said: “The AAIB commissioned specialist vessel Geo Ocean III and Blue Water Recoveries Ltd commissioned FPV Morven and the search area was divided between the vessels.

“Both vessels began their search on the morning of Sunday 3 February.

“Early in the search, the Morven identified an object of interest on the seabed using its side-scan sonar equipment.

© Evening Standard

“It cleared the immediate area for the Geo Ocean III to use its underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to survey the area of the seabed in which the object was located.

“Based on analysis of ROV video footage, the AAIB investigators on board the vessel concluded that the object is wreckage from the missing Piper Malibu aircraft, registration N264DB. “The ROV carried out a further search of the area overnight, but did not identify any additional pieces of wreckage.

“Tragically, in video footage from the ROV, one occupant is visible amidst the wreckage. “The AAIB is now considering the next steps, in consultation with the families of the pilot and passenger, and the police.”

Sala's father Horacio told of his "disbelief" after the wreckage was found, saying the incident was "a bad dream."He told local broadcaster Cronica TV: "I cannot believe it. This is a dream. A bad dream. I am desperate.

Gallery: Tributes to Sala (Wales Online)

"I communicated with them every day, but since I do not have WhatsApp it's hard to call them or call me."

Wreckage from the plane had previously washed up on a beach in north west France, with two cushions found on the Cotentin Peninsula in Normandy, around 60km from Guernsey.

Cardiff City and Nantes have both paid emotional tributes to the star since his disappearance, with fans leaving tributes outside both clubs' stadiums.

During the investigation, the AAIB are also set to inspect whether Mr Ibbotson had the correct license for the commerical flight.


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