Hours after the body of footballer Emiliano Sala was recovered from the wreckage of a plane which went missing over the English Channel, the footballer’s grieving sister has paid tribute.
The body of the 28-year-old Cardiff City signing, who was aboard a Piper Malibu aircraft which went missing in the English Channel, was found among the wreckage of the flight.
The plane was flying from Nantes, western France, to Cardiff, Wales, when it disappeared near the Casquets lighthouse on the island of Alderney on January 21.
The wreckage itself was found on February 3. Dorset Police have since confirmed the body found is that of Emiliano Sala, BBC reports.
In a statement, the force said:
The body brought to Portland Port today, Thursday 7 February 2019, has been formally identified by HM Coroner for Dorset as that of professional footballer Emiliano Sala.
The families of Mr Sala and the pilot David Ibbotson have been updated with this news and will continue to be supported by specially-trained family liaison officers.
After the devastating news was shared with the family, Romina Sala, Emiliano’s sibling, has paid tribute to her late brother.
She shared this photograph to Instagram:
Roughly translated, the caption reads:
Your soul in my soul, it will shine forever thus illuminating the time of my existence. I love you, tito.
Others have also paid tribute to the Argentinian native.
Fans have created a tribute video to the forward:
This very emotional video tribute to Emiliano Sala will hit you hard. You’ll always be remembered by every football fan around the world. 🙌🏻
— Mootaz Chehade (@MHChehade) February 8, 2019
Rest in peace Emiliano Sala. Thoughts are with friends and family 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/9BnTKEawgz
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) February 8, 2019
— FC Porto (@FCPorto) February 7, 2019
Enorme tristeza 😢 QEDP Emiliano. Mis condolencias a familiares y amigos #PrayForSala 🙏🏾//Terribly sad 😢 Rest in peace, Emiliano. My condolences to his friends and family #PrayForSala 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/n9aV5CGcI1
— Sergio Kun Aguero (@aguerosergiokun) February 8, 2019
The news comes after a long and arduous search.
After the plane disappeared, teams from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), as well as a privately funded search on behalf of Sala’s family, conducted operations to examine the area.
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.
The privately funded search for the plane carrying Emiliano will be conducted, on behalf of the Sala family, in close coordination with the AAIB search effort. The two vessels will work together to search the designated area as safely, completely and efficiently as possible.
— David Mearns (@davidlmearns) January 30, 2019
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 why the plane did not reach its destination.
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.
The AAIB had 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.
The teams used sonar equipment to locate any debris or parts of the plane on the sea bed.
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.
— Tom Parmenter (@TomSkyNews) February 3, 2019
Sky News reporter Tom Parmenter had confirmed the discovery of the plane on Sunday night (February 3) via Twitter.
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.
The pilot, David Ibbotson, is yet to be found. 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.