Body Recovered From Soccer Star's Plane

Recovery effort halted amid rough weather
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2019 12:10 AM CST
Body Recovered From Soccer Star's Plane
A view of the match day programme with an image of Emiliano Sala on the cover, ahead of the English Premier League soccer match between Cardiff and Bournemouth at the Cardiff City Stadium, in Cardiff, Wales, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019.   (Mark Kerton/PA via AP)

Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch says a body has been retrieved from the wreckage of the plane that crashed in the English Channel with soccer star Emiliano Sala on board. The AAIB, which retrieved the body with a remotely operated underwater vehicle, has not said whether the body is that of the 28-year-old player or pilot David Ibbotson, the Guardian reports. The AAIB says poor weather conditions made it impossible to retrieve any wreckage—and with the weather in the area looking rough for the foreseeable future, "the difficult decision was taken to bring the overall operation to a close."

The AAIB says that while it was impossible to recover the aircraft, extensive video footage taken by the underwater vehicle will provide "valuable evidence" for its investigation of the Piper Malibu's crash on Jan. 21. Sala, who previously played for French club Nantes, had been visiting France after signing for English Premier League side Cardiff City. He never got to play for the club, which says Nantes sent an invoice this week for the first instalment of Sala's $19.35 million transfer fee, the BBC reports. Cardiff officials say they will honor the deal, which was a club record, though they are "surprised" Nantes started demanding the fee while recovery efforts were still underway. (The wreckage was found Sunday by an American shipwreck hunter.)

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