Published: Fri, February 08, 2019
Sports | By Johanna Francis

U.K. police confirm Argentine soccer player's body recovered from plane wreckage

U.K. police confirm Argentine soccer player's body recovered from plane wreckage

In a statement on Thursday night, police said: "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".

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

"This morning (Thursday) ... the body was brought to Portland Port, Dorset, as this is the nearest part of the British mainland to where the plane was located", said the police statement.

Sala had signed for Cardiff City from French club Nantes in a £15m deal two days before the plane disappeared.

"In challenging conditions, the AAIB and its specialist contractors successfully recovered the body previously seen amidst the wreckage", the AAIB said Wednesday. Subsequently AAIB and privately funded search teams were deployed to the relevant area.

Romina Sala (L), sister of Cardiff City's Argentinian footballer Emiliano Sala, whose flight disappeared from radar over the English Channel north of Guernsey, and a friend (R) react as they look at the tributes to Emiliano Sala outside Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff, south Wales, on January 25, 2019.

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This comes as his pilot David Ibbotson's wife said she was "beside herself" waiting to hear whether he had been found.

"Had that not happened, I don't think anybody would have searched for the plane", shipwreck hunter David Mearns, whose private company found the plane, told AFP.

Sky sources say Nantes have now started legal action against Cardiff, asking for the first payment of the transfer fee, which is understood to be more than £5m. In the 28th minute, a round of applause swelled around the stadium as fans sang Sala's name. Referee Frank Schneider stopped play in the Ligue 1 match against St Etienne for a minute of applause.

The Emiliano Sala rescue team were pictured carrying the body ashore after recovering it from the plane wreckage. Divers can also get down to that depth.

Tributes will no doubt be made again this weekend in the Premier League after the identification of Sala's body.

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