The rear left side of the fuselage
The rear left side of the fuselage including part of the aircraft registration N264DB that went missing carrying soccer player Emiliano Sala, when it disappeared from radar contact on January 21 2019. Image Credit: AP

London: Wreckage from the plane carrying Argentine football star Emiliano Sala that disappeared over the English Channel almost two weeks ago has been found, according a marine scientist leading a search team.

“Wreckage of the plane carrying Emiliano Sala and piloted by David Ibbotson was located early this morning by the FPV MORVEN. As agreed with the AAIB they moved the GEO OCEAN III over the position we provided them to visually identify the plane by ROV. #EmilianoSala,” David Mearns wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

“The families of Emiliano Sala and David Ibbotson have been notified by Police,” he wrote. “Tonight our sole thoughts are with the families and friends of Emiliano and David.”

A seat cushion
A seat cushion from a plane on a beach at Surtainville, France. Air accident investigators say two seat cushions have been found which are likely to have come from the plane carrying Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala. Image Credit: AP

A spokeswoman for UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) also confirmed to CNN in a phone interview that the wreckage was found.

The privately funded search started on Sunday. Mearns, the director of deep-sea operation company Blue Water Recoveries, led the search team on board the vessel FPV Morven. Mearns, who claims to have located 24 shipwrecks in his career, was working on behalf of the Sala family, CNN reported.

The group was also working in close coordination with the AAIB, which on Sunday began a three-day underwater search of an area four square nautical miles off the island of Guernsey.

Sala, 28, and Ibbotson, 59, were flying in a single turbine Piper Malibu plane from Nantes, in northern France, to Cardiff, in Wales, when it disappeared from radar just near the Channel Islands on January 21.

Star striker Sala had recently signed with English Premier League club Cardiff City for a reported $19.3 million from French club Nantes. He was headed to his new club after saying farewell to his former teammates in France.

The official search operation was called off on January 24 after Guernsey’s harbour master, Captain David Barker, said “the chances of survival at this stage are extremely remote.”