Guernsey: The charter plane which was carrying Emiliano Sala from Nantes to Cardiff has been found in the seabed of the English channel, the UK’s Air Accident Investigations Branch (AAIB) has confirmed. The plane was carrying Emiliano Sala, the newly acquired Cardiff City striker from Nantes to Cardiff City on January 21 when it went missing, disappearing from the air traffic control’s radar.
After the disappearance of the aircraft, a three day search and rescue mission was launched led by the Guernsey’s harbor master Captain Dave Barker. On the third day of this mission, the captain announced that the operation was called off with Barker stating that there was no trace of the aircraft and the hopes of Emiliano Sala and the pilot found alive becoming very very slim after three days.
Hearing this, Emiliano Sala’s family started a crowdfunding page to raise enough money to start a private search and rescue operation. The crowdfunding campaign reached its goal within a week. This led to the private operation starting on Sunday with marine scientist David Mearns collaborating with the AAIB.
This was the statement released by David Mearns on 3rd February after finding the wreckage of the aircraft:
“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 search boat located the wreckage of the aircraft underwater after cushions, believed to have been from the private charter, were seen on a beach near Surtainville in northwestern France.