‘Substantial wreckage’ of Sala’s plane has been located at seabed off Guernsey – report

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‘Substantial wreckage’ of Sala’s plane has been located at seabed off Guernsey – report Get short URL The debris of a plane that went off the radar over the English Channel with Cardiff City’s newly-signed striker Emiliano Sala has been reportedly found. The Argentinian went missing on his way to join the club.

With Cardiff City still reeling from the tragic loss of Sala, who was signed by the Welsh team in a club-record £15 million deal, the wreckage of his plane was located two weeks after it went missing. A private-funded search mission found what is left of the aircraft at the seabed off Guernsey Island, an island in the English Channel off the cost of Normandy on Sunday morning, they told the media.

The discovery of the crash site of the Piper Malibu plane was announced by shipwreck hunter and marine explorer David Mearns, who led the search. The find will hopefully bring closure to family and fans of Sala and his pilot, David Ibbotson, ending the story that rattled the whole football community.

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Mearns said that the wreckage was located by a search vessel provided by Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) and manned by his own crew.

He said that the reason why it was spotted so quickly was that the plane lay very close to the “datum position,” the last known coordinates that they were guided by. The search was narrowed down to just four square miles, with the plane’s remnants eventually located some 24 miles north of the island.

FPV Morven, the vessel, that was responsible for the breakthrough, was using side-scan sonar and was able to locate the wreckage “within about an hour and a half of searching” on Sunday, Mearns said.

The mission, however, is not over, and another vessel has moved into the area to carry out further investigations using a ROV or “remotely operated vehicle”. The device will allow close inspection of the apparent crash site, Mearns said.

Read more © Reuters / PETER CZIBORRA

The shipwreck specialist called the outcome of the privately-funded effort “about the best result we could have hoped for the families.” He did not specify what exactly was found, only saying that it was a “substantial amount of wreckage.”

The footballer went missing over the English Channel on January 21, as he was heading to Cardiff from the French city of Nantes, where he played for the first division club of the same name. Police searched for Sala and the pilot for three days, before shutting it down, with both men presumed dead.

A GoFundMe page was set up to raise money for a private undersea search and quickly racked up over €300,000 (US$342,000), surpassing its target.

The tragic incident sparked an avalanche of support from football fans from all over the world to the Premier League club. Several players paid tributes to the striker before the matches, with the Cardiff itself giving a heartfelt tribute to the Argentinean in the club’s first home game since his disappearance on Saturday.

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