An attempt to recover a body discovered in the wreckage of the plane carrying Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala has begun, according to investigators.
An Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) spokesperson said: “We are attempting to recover the body. If we are successful, we will consider the feasibility of recovering the aircraft wreckage.
“Strong tidal conditions mean we can only use the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) for limited periods each day and this will mean that progress is slow.
“Regardless of the results, we will not be making a further statement until the families have been informed.”
The Piper Malibu N264DB carrying the footballer, 28, and pilot David Ibbotson, 59, was discovered off the coast of Alderney in the English Channel on Sunday.
It disappeared from radar on 21 January as it flew from Nantes to Wales.
Sala had just completed a £15m transfer to Cardiff City from French club Nantes.
Video footage taken by a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) confirmed the wreckage found off Guernsey’s coast was the missing aircraft.
On the rear left side of the fuselage the aircraft’s registration number – N264DB – can be seen.
The AAIB confirmed on Monday that a body is visible from the wreck, which is at a depth of around 67m (220ft).
James Hotson, AAIB spokesman, said there is no indication of when the plane will be raised.
He said there was a possibility that the wreck would not be recovered at all, and that a decision would be made on the advice of salvage experts.
“At the moment we are still conducting research – all I can say is that an announcement will be made when we are able to,” he said.
Mr Hotson added that the wreckage, if lifted, would most likely be taken to an English port before being transferred to the AAIB’s laboratory in Farnborough, east Hampshire.
Marine scientist David Mearns, who co-ordinated the private crowdfunded team from Blue Water Recoveries which discovered the plane, said it is “imperative” that the aircraft is lifted.
He said: “The AAIB should be able to rule things out or rule things in, that’s the normal investigative process for any crash, so I think it’s imperative that the plane is recovered, and now even more so now we know someone is down there.”
Mr Mearns told Sky News that the wreckage was largely in one piece when they found it.
“It was sticking high off the seabed it wasn’t buried or anything like that…then we scanned it seven times from different angles.
“It has crashed, it is broken but it is all there, it is not like it is fragmented, it is not like it is in hundreds of pieces.”
On Tuesday he thanked the crew for their efforts in locating the plane, tweeting that the Sala family “are very thankful for their efforts”.
(c) Sky News 2019: Emiliano Sala plane: Attempt to recover body in wreckage begins