First Picture Of Wreckage Of Emiliano Sala’s Plane Released By Authorities

Emiliano Sala@emilianosala9/Instagram/Getty

Air accident investigators have released the first images of the wreckage of the plane carrying Emiliano Sala that crashed over the Channel.

The wreckage itself was found yesterday (3rd Feb 2019) with hopes the bodies may be recoverable.

Air accident investogators now say they can see a body visible in the wreckage but have yet to confirm anything more.

There were two people onboard the light aircraft when it went missing on January 21 – footballer Emiliano Sala, 28, from Argentina, and pilot Dave Ibbotson, from Crowle, North Lincolnshire.

The plane was flying from Nantes, western France, to Cardiff, Wales, when it disappeared near the Casquets lighthouse on the island of Alderney.

Since the plane disappeared, teams from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), as well as a privately funded search on behalf of Sala’s family, have been conducting operations to examine and search the area.

Sky News reporter Tom Parmenter took to twitter to confirm the discovery.

He tweeted:

The wreckage was located on the seabed of the English Channel earlier this morning and has now been positively identified – search boat led by @davidlmearns made the discovery. The @aaibgovuk vessel remains in the area to oversee recovery.

On Wednesday, January 30, cushions believed to be from the missing aircraft were found washed up on a beach near Surtainville, on France’s Cotentin Peninsula, BBC News reports.

Since then, the AAIB identified an area of four square nautical miles in which to search, including underwater searches, by assessing the plane’s flight path and last known radar position.

sala flag at cardiff football stadiumGetty

The teams used sonar equipment to locate any debris or parts of the plane on the sea bed.

After finding the cushions from the plane, the AAIB released a statement, which read, via The Guardian:

Since we opened our safety investigation on Tuesday 23 January, we have been gathering evidence such as flight, aircraft and personnel records, and have been analysing radar data and air traffic tapes. We have been working closely with other international authorities and have kept the families of those involved updated on our progress.

From the moment we were notified of the missing aircraft, we have been looking at the feasibility of conducting an underwater seabed search for aircraft wreckage. Based on a detailed assessment of the flight path and last known radar position, we have now identified a priority search area of approximately four square nautical miles. Through the Ministry of Defence’s salvage and marine operations project team, we have commissioned a specialist survey vessel to carry out an underwater survey of the seabed to try to locate and identify possible aircraft wreckage.

Due to the weather and sea conditions, we currently expect our underwater seabed search to start at the end of this weekend and to take up to three days. Side-scan sonar equipment will be used to try to locate the wreckage on the seabed. If the wreckage is found, a remotely operated vehicle will be used to visually examine the wreckage.

sala on screen at football groundGetty

On Thursday, January 24, the official search for the plane was called off by Guernsey officials, as they believed there was little chance those onboard survived.

Since then, however, more than £290,000 was raised to conduct the private search for the aircraft and the two men onboard.

David Mearns, the marine scientist leading the privately funded team, said his operation would work alongside the AAIB. While the AAIB said they too would liaise with those involved and try to establish the cause of the accident.

As reported by Sky News the family of Sala have been informed of the discovery.

Our thoughts are with the families of Emiliano Sala and Dave Ibbotson at this difficult time.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.