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Footballer Emiliano Sala's missing plane found, claim investigators

File photo of Emiliano Sala. Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP London, UK Feb 04, 2019, 06.49 AM (IST)

The missing plane carrying Argentinian footballer Emiliano Sala and his pilot has been found, investigators told AFP on Sunday.

"I can confirm it has been found," a spokeswoman for Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said.

She said the AAIB would issue a statement on Monday.

Sala was travelling from France to join up with his new club, Premier League side Cardiff City, in a light aircraft on January 21 when it went missing close to the Channel Islands.

Suspected debris from the plane washed up on the Normandy coastline in France last Wednesday.

Sala was flying in the Piper PA-46 Malibu plane after transferring from French team Nantes in a 17 million euro ($19.3 million) move.

It vanished from radar around 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of Guernsey, with pilot Dave Ibbotson the only other person aboard.

David Mearns, whose private company, Blue Water Recoveries, was hired by Sala's family to search for the plane, said on Twitter that the wreck was spotted early Sunday.

" There's a substantial amount of wreckage on the seabed," he wrote, adding: "This is about the best result we could have hoped for the families."

Top footballers were among more than 4,500 contributors to a crowdfunding page that raised over 300,000 euros ($343,000) to look for the wreck.

Story highlights

Sala was travelling from France to join up with his new club, Premier League side Cardiff City, in a light aircraft on January 21 when it went missing close to the Channel Islands.