Search icon


04th Feb 2019

Body found in wreckage of Emiliano Sala plane, confirms investigators

Wayne Farry

emiliano sala

The wreckage of the plane was discovered on the morning of February 3

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch confirmed on Monday morning that a body has been seen in the wreckage of the plane which disappeared while carrying Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala.

Underwater footage of the wreckage shows a body inside the plane, according to a statement from the AAIB, before revealing that the next steps are currently being considered.

The plane, which was being flown from Nantes to Cardiff by pilot David Ibbotson when it vanished above the Channel Islands, was found on Sunday during the first day of a private search.

“Having identified a priority search area last week, the AAIB agreed a search strategy with Blue Water Recoveries Ltd to maximise the chance of locating the aircraft wreckage,” the statement 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. 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.

“The image shows the rear left side of the fuselage including part of the aircraft registration.”