The wreckage was found in the English Channel on Sunday by Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch, which collected underwater footage of it. The body visible in the footage has not yet been identified as Sala, Cardiff City’s record signing striker, or pilot David Ibbotson. Their flight went missing on Jan. 21 while flying to Cardiff from Nantes, France, and the Associated Press reported there weren’t expected to be any survivors.
The body is being taken to the Isle of Portland on the South Coast of England, according to the Mirror, where it will be passed on to a coroner for an examination.
Weather conditions have been so poor that the AAIB has called off any further attempts to recover the aircraft itself.
“The weather forecast is poor for the foreseeable future and so the difficult decision was taken to bring the overall operation to a close,” an AAIB spokesman said. “The operation was carried out in as dignified a way as possible and the families were kept informed of progress.”
The news comes the same day Sala’s former club, FC Nantes, more or less demanded Cardiff still pay Sala’s £15 million transfer fee.
The search for the plane was initially called off on Jan. 24, after Guernsey harbor master David Barker termed the chances of Sala and Ibbotson’s survival “extremely remote.” Pleas from Sala’s family, however, along with several soccer stars’ outspoken support led to a continuation helmed by ocean scientist David Mearns, who has a reputation for tracking down elusive shipwrecks.
There is no timetable for identification of the recovered body, and an interim report is expected to be published by the AAIB within the month.
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