Underwater video footage has appeared showing one occupant visible in the wreckage of the plane carrying missing striker Emiliano Sala from France to Cardiff ahead of his £15 million club record move, investigators say.
Air Live report that the footage shows one occupant from the plane’s crew, which consisted of Sala and the aircraft’s pilot, David Ibbotson, visible within the wreckage, which was found on Sunday around 63 meters underwater.
The debris was found on the seabed of the English Channel, two weeks after it went missing, following a privately-funded search by marine explorer David Mearns and which included the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB).
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— AIRLIVE (@airlivenet) 4 de febrero de 2019
“Tragically, in video footage from the ROV, one occupant is visible amidst the wreckage,” AAIB said in a statement. “The AAIB is now considering the next steps, in consultation with the families of the pilot and passenger, and the police.
“The image shows the rear left side of the fuselage including part of the aircraft registration. We intend to publish an interim report within one month of the accident occurring.”
In one of football’s most poignant tales of recent years, Sala was travelling from France to the Welsh capital to complete a move from Ligue 1 side Nantes when the Piper Malibu plane in which he was in lost contact with the coastguard.
— AAIB (@aaibgovuk) 4 de febrero de 2019
Despite specialists claiming the chances of survival being “remote”, a GoFundMe page being set up to raise money for the search and quickly racked up over €300,000 (US$342,000), surpassing its target.
The wreckage was found some 24 miles north of Guernsey Island, off the coast of Normandy after Mearns narrowed the search down for just four square miles. The search lasted just over an hour and a half.
“We located the wreckage of the plane on the seabed at a depth of about 63 m within the first couple of hours [of searching],” Mearns told BBC Radio 4.
“They saw the registration number and the biggest surprise is that most of the plane is there – we were expecting to find a debris field,” he added.