Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala was confirmed dead after the investigators identified the body recovered from the plane wreckage today. According to the Dorset Police, the body brought to UK’s Portland Port has been formally identified by HM Coroner for Dorset as that of professional footballer Emiliano Sala. The families of Sala and the pilot David Ibbotson have been updated with this news and will continue to be supported by specially-trained family liaison officers. Our thoughts remain with them at this difficult time, the police said in a statement. On Monday 21 January 2019 a plane carrying both men was flying from Nantes to Cardiff when it lost contact with Air Traffic Control, north of Guernsey.
The news has sent shockwaves in the world of football. Sala’s sister Romina posted a heart-breaking message on Instagram. “Your soul in my soul it will shine forever thus illuminating the time of my existence. I love you, tito,” Romina wrote.
The investigators had recovered a body underwater from the wreckage of a plane carrying the Argentine footballer in the Channel and transported it to the British mainland on Thursday for identification. Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said that bad weather meant they were unable to recover the plane and as a result it was closing down the operation.
The light aircraft was carrying the 28-year-old footballer to his new Premier League team Cardiff City when it disappeared near the British island of Guernsey on January 21, along with 59-year-old pilot David Ibbotson. Sala's disappearance prompted an outpouring of grief across the footballing world, including at his former club Nantes in France where the plane was flying from.
After search operations were suspended, a shipwreck hunter hired by Sala's family with funds donated by football stars such as Lionel Messi found the wreckage on Sunday. The body was taken to Portland Harbour in southern England on board the Geo Ocean III offshore supply ship.
It was then stretchered into a silver van, with Dorset Police confirming it had "left the boat and left the port", before being taken to a nearby mortuary for identification and a post-mortem. "This morning... the body was brought to Portland Port, Dorset, as this is the nearest part of the British mainland to where the plane was located," said the police statement.
The AAIB, who took over the operation, had on Monday confirmed that an unidentified body had been found at the site.