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Sala's plane found following search for missing striker

21:26 GMT 03/02/2019
PrayForSala
The Cardiff City forward's flight disappeared after the Argentine completed a transfer from Nantes

The plane that was carrying Emiliano Sala was found in the English Channel on Sunday morning, following a two-week search for the aircraft that was carrying the missing footballer.

Sala was aboard the Piper Malibu aircraft on January 21 when he flew from Nantes to Wales after completing a £15 million ($19.8m) transfer to Cardiff City.

The Argentine had flown back to France to say goodbye to his team-mates and, on his way back to England, the plane carrying the forward and pilot David Ibbotson disappeared from radar close to the Channel Islands.

The plane was located following an extensive search of the area with a search boat positively identifying the aircraft after discovery on Sunday.

Marine scientist David Mearns led the search on Sunday and confirmed that the plane was located and that families were notified by police.

Mearns tweeted: "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.

"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."

 

A further statement is expected on Monday.

Initial search and recovery efforts were called off three days after the flight disappeared, but the search was then resumed after Sala's family raised funds to continue the efforts.

A target of €300,000 (£260k/$342k) was met on a GoFundMe page after the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and president of Argentina Mauricio Macri spoke out to continue the search.

Sala joined Nantes in 2015 after previously featuring for Orleans, Niort and Caen, and the forward went on to make 132 appearances for the club while scoring 48 goals.

After scoring 13 goals across all competitions to start the season with Nantes, Sala became Cardiff’s record signing when he was acquired by Neil Warnock’s side in January.