Body found in wreckage of plane carrying Emiliano Sala and pilot Dave Ibbotson at bottom of English Channel

Body found in wreckage of plane carrying Emiliano Sala and pilot Dave Ibbotson at bottom of English Channel

ONE body has been found in the wreckage of the plane which went down in the English Channel carrying footballer Emiliano Sala and pilot Dave Ibbotson.

The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) released the first image of the Piper PA-46 Malibu light aircraft's wreckage on Monday morning after it was found on the seabed on Sunday around 24 miles north of Guernsey.

The AAIB confirmed that the remains of one person were visible within the wreckage but did not say whether they were those of the Argentine striker or the British father-of-three.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the AAIB said: "The AAIB commissioned specialist vessel Geo Ocean III and Blue Water Recoveries Ltd commissioned FPV Morven and the search area was divided between the vessels.

"Both vessels began their search on the morning of Sunday 3 February.

"Early in the search, the Morven identified an object of interest on the seabed using its side-scan sonar equipment.

Sala, 28, and Ibbotson, 59, went missing on January 21 (Image: Twitter)

"It cleared the immediate area for the Geo Ocean III to use its underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to survey the area of the seabed in which the object was located.

"Based on analysis of ROV video footage, the AAIB investigators on board the vessel concluded that the object is wreckage from the missing Piper Malibu aircraft, registration N264DB.

"The ROV carried out a further search of the area overnight, but did not identify any additional pieces of wreckage.

"Tragically, in video footage from the ROV, one occupant is visible amidst the wreckage.

"The AAIB is now considering the next steps, in consultation with the families of the pilot and passenger, and the police."

Sala, 28, had been had been on his way to South Wales to meet up with his new Cardiff City teammates when he vanished over the Channel alongside experienced pilot Ibbotson, 59.

The Argentine striker had recently signed for the club for a club record £15million fee from French club Nantes.

A full report into the incident will be published in the coming weeks.