Cardiff City and Argentinian striker Emiliano Sala has been confirmed dead by Dorset police after the body found from the plane crash in the English Channel was identified to be his.
The plane crashed near Alderney in the Channel Islands, with the pilot losing contact with traffic control after calling for help around 8.30 pm on January 21 en route to Cardiff from Nantes.
The chartered plane on which Sala was flying was a Piper Malibu aircraft. It was flying at 2,300ft in the air and was passing over Guernsey when the pilot requested descent. Along with Sala, the pilot of the aircraft Dan Henderson, 60, is also believed to be the casualty in the tragic accident.
Sala was Cardiff City’s record signing as the Bluebirds paid £15million for his signature. The signing was only announced a couple of days before the crash and Sala had not even trained with his teammates yet. He had flown back to France in order to bid goodbye to his Nantes teammates.
Confirming the death in a statement, Dorset police said:
“The body brought to Portland Port has been formally identified by HM Coroner for Dorset as that of professional footballer Emiliano Sala. 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.”
Cardiff City also released a statement which read:
“We offer our most heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the family of Emiliano. He and David will forever remain in our thoughts.”
An official search was carried out by the local authorities to find the missing plane which was unsuccessful in nature and called off on January 24th. But due to funds raised through donations from many people including Lionel Messi, £300,000 was raised by a private search.
The search was carried out by Air Accident Investigation Branch who found the wreckage at the bottom of the sea with a body in it. Robot subs were then used to pull the body out from the 220 ft deep waters and a coroners investigation has now indeed confirmed that the body was Sala’s.