Shipwreck Hunter Finds Soccer Star's Plane, Body Aboard

Emiliano Sala, pilot disappeared 2 weeks ago
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 4, 2019 2:28 AM CST
Updated Feb 4, 2019 6:28 AM CST
Wreckage of Soccer Star's Plane Found on Seabed
Tributes are paid to Emiliano Sala ahead of the English Premier League soccer match between Cardiff and Bournemouth at the Cardiff City Stadium, in Cardiff, Wales, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019.   (Mark Kerton/PA via AP)

The wreckage of the plane carrying soccer player Emiliano Sala was located on Sunday, two weeks after it disappeared from radar over the English Channel, according to the marine scientist leading a privately funded search for the Argentine. David Mearns, an American-born shipwreck-hunting specialist, made the announcement on Twitter after he returned to the island of Guernsey from the search and police informed the families of the two men on board, the AP reports. "Tragically, in video footage ... one occupant is visible amidst the wreckage," said Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch in a statement Monday. But both Sala and David Ibbotson, the pilot of the small aircraft, are presumed dead.

"This is about the best result we could have hoped for the families," Mearns told Sky News. Sala, 28, was being flown on Jan. 21 from the French city of Nantes to Cardiff after being signed by the Welsh capital's Premier League team. The main search for the plane was called off after three days, but Sala's family launched a fundraising initiative that led to Mearns bringing his expertise to the mission. Mearns did a search in conjunction with the AAIB, which also deployed a vessel for a search of the seabed on Sunday. "Tonight our sole thoughts are with the families and friends of Emiliano and David," Mearns said. (Before the plane disappeared, Sala texted "I'm so scared.")

(Read more plane crash stories.)

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