A BODY recovered from plane wreckage at the bottom of the English Channel yesterday (Thursday) has been confirmed as that of former ex-Palma de Soledad footballer, Emiliano Sala.
In a statement, Dorset Police said: “The body brought to Portland Port has been formally identified by HM Coroner for Dorset as that of professional footballer Emiliano Sala.
“The families of Mr Sala and pilot David Ibbotson have been updated and will continue to be supported by specially-trained family liaison officers. Our thoughts remain with them at this difficult time.”
Police also said they will continue to investigate the ‘circumstances of this death’.
Sala, 28, and Ibbotson, 59, were travelling in the light aircraft from Nantes, France to Cardiff on January 21, when the plane suddenly disappeared from the radar near the Channel Islands.
An initial search and rescue operation was unsuccessful.
An online appeal started by Argentine Sala’s agent raised €371,000 for a private search led by marine scientist and oceanographer David Mearns.
Working jointly with the AAIB, his ship and the Geo Ocean III, began combing a four square mile area of the English Channel, 24 nautical miles north of Guernsey.
Using specialist equipment, including a submersible with cameras, they located and identified the missing plane 67 metres below the surface, and recovered Sala’s body.
The AAIB said video footage captured by the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) will provide ‘valuable evidence’ for its safety investigation.
Ibbotson, from Crowle, Lincolnshire, was piloting the plane when it lost contact with air traffic controllers. He has not been found.