7th February 2019 – A body has been successfully recovered from the wreckage of the plane carrying Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson.

A statement late last night from the Air Accident Investigation Branch 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.

The wreckage of Emiliano Sala's plabe in the English Channel

The wreckage of Emiliano Sala’s plabe in the English Channel

“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.”  The police and coroner will now carry out formal identification.

The operation to attempt to recover the body inside the wreckage of the plane began on Tuesday.  The Geo Ocean III vessel remained at the crash site throughout Wednesday, with winching equipment and floodlighting on board.

Yesterday evening, the ship left the site and headed to Portland.  A body was found amid the wreckage of the plane after an underwater search of the seabed located the wreckage in the English Channel on Sunday.