Wreckage of plane carrying missing footballer Emiliano Sala reportedly found

Wreckage from the plane which disappeared with Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson on board has been found in the English Channel.

The Piper Malibu N264DB carrying 28-year-old Argentinian Sala and pilot David Ibbotson, 59, disappeared over the Channel on January 21 after leaving Nantes in France for Cardiff.

An official search operation was called off on January 24 after Guernsey’s harbour master Captain David Barker said the chances of survival following such a long period were “extremely remote”.

Mr Mearns, A marine scientist who is directing the private search, said on Twitter: “Wreckage of the plane carrying Emiliano Sala and piloted by David Ibbotson was located early this morning by the FPV MORVEN.

“As agreed with the AAIB they moved the GEO OCEAN III over the position we provided them to visually identify the plane by ROV. #EmilianoSala.”

Mr Mearns said that the families of Emiliano Sala and David Ibbotson have been notified by police.

He added that the British Air Accident Investigation Board will be making a statement tomorrow.

“Tonight our sole thoughts are with the families and friends of Emiliano and David,” he said.

Sala was travelling from France to join up with his new club, Premier League side Cardiff City, in a light aircraft on 21 January 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.

The plane vanished from radar around 20km north of Guernsey, with pilot Dave Ibbotson the only other person aboard.

Mr Mearns said: “This is about the best result we could have hoped for the families.

“But tonight they have heard devastating news and in respect of the families I won’t comment any further about what has happened.”