British authorities on Friday confirmed that the body recovered from the plane wreckage in the English Channel has been identified as Cardiff City Football Club player, Emiliano Sala.

The plane which the 28-year old had been flying from Nantes to Cardiff crashed into the English Channel two weeks ago.

The Piper aircraft piloted by David Ibbotson, 60, lost radar contact 24 nautical miles North of Guernsey, and was later found 220ft under the sea.

On Tuesday night a mission to carefully remove his body from the aircraft was launched by specially trained MoD salvage officials, and they brought it onto their vessel, the Geo Ocean III.

Last night, Dorset police said: “The body brought to Portland Port today, Thursday 7 February 2019, has been formally identified by HM Coroner for Dorset as that of professional footballer Emiliano Sala.

“The families of Mr 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.

“HM Coroner will continue to investigate the circumstances of this death supported by Dorset Police.”

Sala had just signed for Cardiff City for a club-record fee of £15 million, on a contract worth around £50,000 a week when he boarded the flight. He would never play a minute for them.

After travelling to Nantes to say a “last goodbye” to his former teammates, as he called it on Instagram, the Argentinian striker took off for Cardiff in a 35-year-old single engine aircraft organised by football agent Mark McKay.

While on the plane, and in treacherous weather, Sala sent a Whatsapp voice message to his friends, saying “he was “really scared” and the “plane seems like it is breaking apart”.

He added: “If you don’t have news from me in an hour and a half, I don’t know if they are going to send someone to search for me because they will not find me.”

A four-day intensive search and rescue mission led by the Guernsey coast guard and the Channel Islands Air Search teams found no trace of the plane or its occupants.

Sala’s family launched a crowdfunding page to raise money to restart the search and received some £330,000. The family hired David Mearns, a “shipwreck hunter”, who found the plane within two hours of searching.

The status of the pilot is still not known, and the missing persons investigation is still open.

with additional information from Telegraph UK

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