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Investigators recover body from wreckage of Sala plane

Emiliano Sala
Emiliano Sala

By Lawrence Ostlere

A body has been recovered from amidst the wreckage of the plane which crashed with footballer Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson on board, The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said.

Both men are missing presumed dead after their plane came down in the English Channel on January 21.

In a statement, the AAIB said: "Following extensive visual examination of the accident site using the remotely operated vehicle (ROV), it was decided to attempt recovery operations.

"In challenging conditions, the AAIB and its specialist contractors successfully recovered the body previously seen amidst the wreckage. The operation was carried out in as dignified a way as possible and the families were kept informed of progress.

"Unfortunately, attempts to recover the aircraft wreckage were unsuccessful before poor weather conditions forced us to return the ROV to the ship. The weather forecast is poor for the foreseeable future and so the difficult decision was taken to bring the overall operation to a close. The body is currently being taken to Portland to be passed into the care of the Dorset Coroner.

"Although it was not possible to recover the aircraft, the extensive video record captured by the ROV is expected to provide valuable evidence for our safety investigation. We expect our next update to be an interim report, which we intend to publish within one month of the accident occurring."

Meanwhile, Nantes and Cardiff City are at loggerheads over the £15m transfer fee for striker Sala.

Sala and the pilot Ibbotson were on board the private aircraft, the wreckage of which was discovered on Sunday evening on the seabed between Guernsey and the Devon coastline.

The Ligue 1 club have demanded payment from Cardiff, according to BBC Wales, but the Bluebirds are withholding fees until they are satisfied with the documentation concluding Sala's disappearance.

The transfer fee is reportedly set to be paid over three instalments, and Cardiff are surprised that Nantes have requested the money while Sala has still not been officially found.

Cardiff would prefer to establish all the facts surrounding the tragedy first.

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