Rescuers try to recover body from Sala's plane

LONDON • British crash investigators are two days into an underwater operation to recover a body from the wreckage of the plane carrying Argentinian striker Emiliano Sala in the English Channel.

The mission started on Tuesday and, as of press time yesterday, the body had yet to be recovered. According to news website WalesOnline, the recovery could take days as it is "dependent on the weather, current and tide conditions".

"We are attempting to recover the body. If we are successful, we will consider the feasibility of recovering the aircraft wreckage," said an Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) spokesman.

The light aircraft carrying the 28-year-old - Cardiff's record buy at £15 million (S$26.3 million) - had been flying from Nantes to the Welsh capital when air traffic controllers lost contact with pilot David Ibbotson near the Channel island of Guernsey on Jan 21.

David Mearns, the shipwreck hunter hired by Sala's family after funds had been raised through an online crowdfunding campaign, found the plane wreckage last Sunday.

The AAIB has since taken over operations, but it warned on Tuesday that strong tides "mean we can only use the remotely operated vehicle for limited periods each day".

"Regardless of the results, we will not be making a further statement until the families have been informed," it said.

Horacio, Sala's father, has given up hope of finding his son alive, but he is hoping for a successful outcome to the operation to get closure.

He told Fox Sports: "There's no longer any hope. We hope the two bodies are inside (the plane).

"It's over, the only thing I hope now is that they find them."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 07, 2019, with the headline 'Rescuers try to recover body from Sala's plane'. Print Edition | Subscribe