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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 February 2019

Seat cushions found from missing footballer's plane

The light aircraft carrying Emiliano Sala went missing on January 21

Cardiff City supporters display tributes for Argentinian soccer player Emiliano Sala, who went missing on 21 January. EPA
Cardiff City supporters display tributes for Argentinian soccer player Emiliano Sala, who went missing on 21 January. EPA

Two seat cushions likely to have come from the aircraft carrying missing footballer Emiliano Sala have been found on a beach in France, investigators said on Wednesday.

The light aircraft piloted by Briton David Ibbotson went missing on January 21 while flying from the French city of Nantes to Cardiff, were the Argentina-born striker was to join up with his new teammates after a £15 million (Dh71.35m) transfer to play in the English Premier League.

The aircraft was last reported flying just north of Guernsey in the Channel Islands. The two cushions were found near the town of Surtainville, on the French coastline closest to the islands.

French authorities alerted their British counterparts to the discovery, according to the British Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB). “From a preliminary examination we have concluded that it is likely that the cushions are from the missing aircraft,” it said.

Investigators said they had identified a priority area of about four-square nautical miles and are planning to start an underwater search this weekend, which could take three days.

A separate privately-funded search for signs of the plane is continuing.

Fans and footballing authorities on Tuesday paid tribute to Sala, 28, at the first match played by Cardiff City since the disappearance of the Piper Malibu plane. Cardiff was defeated 2-1 by Arsenal.

Updated: January 30, 2019 06:58 PM

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