North Lincolnshire

Body recovered from channel plane wreckage

A body has been been recovered from the wreckage of the plane that carried footballer Emiliano Sala and Lincolnshire pilot David Ibbotson.

As previously reported, a body was found by underwater search teams investigating the wreckage of the plane.

The wreckage of the plane was discovered on February 3 after a privately-funded sonar search and collaboration between the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) and Blue Waters Recoveries Ltd.

The Piper Malibu N264DB was found in the English Channel near to Guernsey.

The attempts to recover the wreckage were unsuccessful and the overall operation was brought to a close. However, the extensive video record captured by the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) is expected to provide valuable evidence for the safety investigation.

The image shows the rear left side of the fuselage including part of the aircraft registration. Photo: AAIB

The body is currently being taken to Portland to be passed into the care of the Dorset Coroner but authorities have yet to confirm whether it is that of Sala or Ibbotson.

AAIB statement

A statement from the AAIB said: “Following extensive visual examination of the accident site using the remotely operated vehicle (ROV), it was decided to attempt recovery operations.

“In challenging conditions, the AAIB and its specialist contractors successfully recovered the body previously seen amidst the wreckage.

“The operation was carried out in as dignified a way as possible and the families were kept informed of progress.

“Unfortunately, attempts to recover the aircraft wreckage were unsuccessful before poor weather conditions forced us to return the ROV to the ship.

“The weather forecast is poor for the foreseeable future and so the difficult decision was taken to bring the overall operation to a close. The body is currently being taken to Portland to be passed into the care of the Dorset Coroner.

“Although it was not possible to recover the aircraft, the extensive video record captured by the ROV is expected to provide valuable evidence for our safety investigation.

“We expect our next update to be an interim report, which we intend to publish within one month of the accident occurring.”