Wreckage from a plane carrying Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala has been discovered in the English Channel. The Piper Malibu N264DB was lost on 21 January on its way from Nantes, France, to Cardiff, with the Argentine striker and pilot David Ibbotson on board.
Accident investigators are expected to send a submersible to inspect the wreckage later on Monday. David Mearns, who led a privately-funded search for the aircraft, said it was located off Guernsey on Sunday.
He said: “All I will say, is that there is a substantial amount of wreckage on the seabed.” Mr Mearns’ private search has now been stood down and the Air Accident Investigation Branch is at the site working to recover the plane.
In a series of tweets, marine scientist Mr Mearns said: “The families of Emiliano Sala and David Ibbotson have been notified by police. Our sole thoughts are with the families and friends of Emiliano and David.”
Speaking to Argentinian broadcaster Cronica TV, Sala’s father Horacio said: “I cannot believe it. This is a dream. A bad dream. I am desperate.”
Cardiff had signed Sala for a club record of £15m and he was due to start training last month.
The 28-year-old player and Mr Ibbotson, 59, from Crowle, North Lincolnshire, were travelling from Nantes, where he had previously played, when the flight lost contact with air traffic controllers.