The renewed search for the missing plane that carried new Cardiff signing Emiliano Sala has yielded some results.
According to the CNN, seat cushions believed to be from the plane carrying missing footballer have been found. CNN quoted the Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) as its source.
As a result, an underwater search, using side-scan sonar equipment, is expected to take place at the end of this week, covering four square nautical miles and taking up to three days.
The seat cushions were discovered by French authorities on a beach near Surtainville on the Cotentin Peninsula in the northwest coast of France.
In a statement released Wednesday, the AAIB said that after a preliminary examination it had concluded that it was “likely that the cushions are from the missing aircraft.”
The aircraft carrying Cardiff City’s record signing disappeared from radar last week near the Channel Islands.
“From the moment we were notified of the missing aircraft, we have been looking at the feasibility of conducting an underwater seabed search for aircraft wreckage,” the statement added.
“Based on a detailed assessment of the flight path and last known radar position, we have now identified a priority search area of approximately four square nautical miles.
“Through the Ministry of Defence’s Salvage and Marine Operations (SALMO) Project Team, we have commissioned a specialist survey vessel to carry out an underwater survey of the seabed to try to locate and identify possible aircraft wreckage.
“Due to the weather and sea conditions, we currently expect our underwater seabed search to start at the end of this weekend and to take up to three days.
“Side-scan sonar equipment will be used to try to locate the wreckage on the seabed. If the wreckage is found, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) will be used to visually examine the wreckage.”
Earlier in the week, the Englishman revealed that several City players had undergone counseling and offered his support to the private search, as did Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny in the matchday programme.
The AAIB said it was “liaising closely” with the private search mission — financed by donations from footballers, among others — to “maximize the chance of locating any wreckage and ensure a safe search operation.”
A crowd funding initiative to finance a private search was launched last weekend in response to the decision by UK authorities to abandon its recovery mission last Thursday.
Before the earlier search was called off, Guernsey Police had been working on four possibilities:
- They have landed elsewhere but not made contact
- They landed on water, have been picked up by a passing ship but not made contact
- They landed on water and made it into the life raft we know was on board
- The aircraft broke up on contact with the water, leaving them in the sea