Emiliano Sala: Body recovered from plane in English Channel identified as footballer

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By Euronews
Emiliano Sala during his time with FC Nantes in France
Emiliano Sala during his time with FC Nantes in France   -   Copyright  AAIB/ via REUTERS

The body recovered from plane wreckage in the English Channel is that of professional football player Emiliano Sala, said Dorset police in a statement after it was brought to Portland Port, Dorset, on Thursday.

Authorities recovered the body on Wednesday amid "challenging conditions" after it was first spotted in the plane's wreckage on Monday.

"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 statement read.

"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."

"Our thoughts remain with them at this difficult time."

Dorset's coroner will continue to investigate the cause of the footballer's death with the help of the police.

The statement said an initial search and rescue operation was unsuccessful in locating the plane and the two occupants so Air Accidents Investigations Branch (AAIB) and privately funded search teams were deployed to "the relevant area".

"Using specialist equipment the teams succeeded in locating and identifying the plane and recovering Mr Sala's body."

The AAIB said the operation was conducted in "as dignified a way as possible".

Sala, 28, was en route from Nantes in western France to Cardiff after he signed a €17 million contract with Cardiff City — a record for the Welsh club.

But the plane carrying him from Nantes to Wales disappeared on January 21 near the island of Guernsey. The plane wreckage was found on Sunday by a privately-funded search operation.