Sunday, 17 February, 2019

Body recovered from plane wreckage identified as footballer Emiliano Sala

Neil Warnock- Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan offers to pay for Emiliano Sala repatriation Neil Warnock's Cardiff side face Southampton on Saturday Credit REUTERS
Rita Gibson | 08 February, 2019, 08:43

Emiliano Sala has finally been confirmed dead after police confirmed the body found in the crashed plane is that of the former Cardiff City striker.

His families who have been hoping for him to survive have been told the devastating news and they are being supported by specially-trained family liaison officers.

Sala was on board a light aircraft being flown by pilot David Ibbotson from the French city of Nantes to the Welsh capital of Cardiff on January 21 when the flight lost contact with air traffic controllers.

"He and David will forever remain in our thoughts", a spokesman added.

Police said an investigation into the circumstances of the death was continuing.

Despite that, Sala never played for his country and remained little known back in his homeland - an article on the website of popular sports daily Ole last month carried a headline: "Who is Emiliano Sala?".

Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch found the plane wreckage on Sunday 67 meters under water on the seabed 21 miles off the coast of the island of Guernsey.

Dorset Police confirmed the identification on Thursday night.

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Emiliano Sala's body was recovered from the submerged plane this week.

Cardiff City have offered their "most heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the family of Emiliano".

The AAIB was unable to recover the plane due to bad weather and as a result was closing down the operation.

Cardiff have not yet paid any of the fee, a record for the club, for the Argentinian striker and privately believe questions first need answering about the ownership of the Piper Malibu aircraft and other issues.

The plane had been cruising at 5,000 feet (1,525 m) when the pilot requested to descend to a lower altitude on passing Guernsey.

"Since we found out, it's all anyone can talk about", said local restaurant owner Oscar Heymo, a friend of Sala's father Horacio.

As an extensive outpouring of grief and sympathy from across the football community continued, a number of high-profile figures and members of the public answered the Sala family's calls to fund a private search.

"Sadly a search and rescue operation was unsuccessful in locating the plane and the two occupants", the statement continued.

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