Emiliano Sala: Body successfully recovered from plane crash wreckage, authorities say

Lawrence Ostlere

The body seen in the wreckage of the flight carrying Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala has been recovered from the site.

The 28-year-old Sala was the only passenger on the aircraft being flown by British pilot David Ibbotson when it went missing on 21 January. It was discovered on the seabed of the English Channel last week between Guernsey and the Devon coastline.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said in a statement on Wednesday night that the body had been “successfully recovered”.

It read: “Following extensive visual examination of the accident site using the remotely operated vehicle (ROV), it was decided to attempt recovery operations.

“In challenging conditions, the AAIB and its specialist contractors successfully recovered the body previously seen amidst the wreckage. The operation was carried out in as dignified a way as possible and the families were kept informed of progress.

“Unfortunately, attempts to recover the aircraft wreckage were unsuccessful before poor weather conditions forced us to return the ROV to the ship. The weather forecast is poor for the foreseeable future and so the difficult decision was taken to bring the overall operation to a close. The body is currently being taken to Portland to be passed into the care of the Dorset Coroner.

“Although it was not possible to recover the aircraft, the extensive video record captured by the ROV is expected to provide valuable evidence for our safety investigation.

“We expect our next update to be an interim report, which we intend to publish within one month of the accident occurring.”

Sala was on his way to Cardiff where he was set to join up with his new club for the first time, after transferring from Nantes in the January transfer window.

Nantes and Cardiff are currently at odds over the transfer fee after the Ligue 1 club requested the first of three instalments totalling £15m be paid immediately.

Cardiff are said to be shocked that they have been asked to pay the transfer fee and want to wait for official confirmation of what happened to Sala before proceeding.