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Footballer Sala's missing plane found: Investigators

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

London/Buenos Aires   /   Mon, February 4, 2019   /   09:22 am
Footballer Sala's missing plane found: Investigators Cardiff supporters hold a shirt to honor Cardiff's Argentinian striker Emiliano Sala, whose flight disappeared from radar over the English Channel north of Guernsey, after the English Premier League football match between between Cardiff City and Bournemouth at Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff, south Wales on Feb. 2, 2019. The privately-funded search for the missing plane carrying Argentinian footballer Emiliano Sala will begin on Sunday, conditions permitting, the scientist leading the mission said on Saturday. (AFP/Geoff Caddick)

The missing plane carrying Argentinian footballer Emiliano Sala and his pilot has been found, investigators told AFP on Sunday.

"I can confirm it has been found," a spokeswoman for Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said.

She said the AAIB would issue a statement on Monday.

Sala was travelling from France to join up with his new club, Premier League side Cardiff City, in a light aircraft on Jan. 21 when it went missing close to the Channel Islands.

Suspected debris from the plane washed up on the Normandy coastline in France last Wednesday.

Sala was flying in the Piper PA-46 Malibu plane after transferring from French team Nantes in a 17 million euro (US$19.3 million) move.

It vanished from radar around 20 kilometers north of Guernsey, with pilot Dave Ibbotson the only other person aboard.

David Mearns, whose private company, Blue Water Recoveries, was hired by Sala's family to search for the plane, said on Twitter that the wreck was spotted early Sunday.

" There's a substantial amount of wreckage on the seabed," he wrote, adding: "This is about the best result we could have hoped for the families."

Top footballers were among more than 4,500 contributors to a crowdfunding page that raised over 300,000 euros.

Sala's father Sunday was awakened from a sound sleep to learn that the plane in which his son was killed, has been found.

"I can't believe it. It's a bad dream," Horacio Sala said when contacted by Cronica TV at his home in Progreso.

He was the only one to stay behind in Argentina when the family rushed to Nantes, France to try to help with the search.

"I talk to them every day. But since I don't have WhatsApp it's expensive to call them or for them to call me. But anyway, they kept saying days were going by, and that there had been zero word on Emiliano, or on the plane," his father said.