Body found in Emiliano Sala plane wreckage

Cardiff City offers touching tributes to missing Emiliano Sala in first home match since disappearance (photos)

Emiliano Sala's father has described his anguish and disbelief after wreckage of the plane carrying the missing Premier League footballer was found almost two weeks after it disappeared.

He said the families of Sala and Ibbotson, who was registered as its pilot, have been notified by police.

Both families have been informed of that development.

Sala, 28, and pilot David Ibbotson remain missing after the aircraft vanished from radar on its way from France to Cardiff on January 22.

'They told me that the days passed and there was no news of Emiliano or the plane'.

Underwater searches were carried out using specialist vessels on February 3 over the priority search area and, according to AAIB, uncovered an "object of interest" on the seabed.

It has been an anxious and heartbreaking time for the Argentinian striker's family since his plane disappeared.

Asked if the bodies of Sala and his pilot David Ibbotson were onboard, Mearns said: "That's a possibility and they'll be planning for that".

"Tonight our sole thoughts are with the families and friends of Emiliano and David".

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It was previously announced that a privately funded search of a four square mile stretch 24 nautical miles north of Guernsey began on Sunday morning, with the aforementioned vessels using radar technology in hope of recovering the plane.

Sala was flying to Cardiff after transferring from French team Nantes in a 17 million euro ($19.3 million) move - a record deal for the Welsh team.

The AAIB says "one occupant is visible amidst the wreckage" that was found on the seabed on Sunday.

"The image shows the rear left side of the fuselage including part of the aircraft registration", the AAIB said.

Mearns said that the wreckage was located by a search vessel provided by Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) and manned by his own crew.

Mearns, speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, said: "The biggest surprise to us was that most of the plane is there".

In a series of tributes before kick-off, Sala's photograph appeared on the front cover of the matchday program and the two team captains laying floral tributes on the halfway line.

Just after an hour into the flight, pilot Dave Ibbotson, 60, asked air traffic control to reduce altitude from 5,000 ft to 2,300 feet.

Seat cushions likely to be from the missing plane washed up on a beach in north-western France last week.

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