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Police: Body found in plane confirmed as footballer Emiliano Sala

A body found in the wreckage of a plane in the English Channel has been identified as that of Emiliano Sala, according to a statement from Dorset police.

The plane, which was carrying the Argentine footballer, 28, and pilot David Ibbotson, 59, went missing from radar near Guernsey two weeks ago.

A private search team located the missing aircraft on the seabed on Sunday and confirmed that the body of one of the occupants had been seen among the wreckage.

On Wednesday it was confirmed that a body had been recovered.

On Thursday, Dorset police put out a statement on Twitter that said: "The body brought to Portland Port today has been formally identified by HM Coroner for Dorset as that of professional footballer Emiliano Sala.

"The families of Mr Sala and pilot David Ibbotson have been updated. Our thoughts remain with them all.

"The families of Mr Sala and the pilot David Ibbotson have been updated with this news and will continue to be supported by specially-trained family liaison officers." 

In a brief statement, Cardiff City said: "We offer our most heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the family of Emiliano. He and David will forever remain in our thoughts."

Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan added in a statement to Talksport radio: "We've offered to arrange to take Emiliano back to rest with his family in Argentina. Even though he will be there, his soul will always be in our hearts."

A minute's applause will take place before all Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 games in memory of Sala, the French League said on Friday.

"Tonight and during the whole weekend, we will all be united in paying a last tribute to Emiliano before the matches kick off," LFP President Nathalie Boy de la Tour said.

The chairman of Nantes has said that the player's No. 9 shirt will be retired as a tribute.

In a statement on the club's website, Waldemar Kita said: ''I am at a loss for words. It is a tragedy, I am destroyed. Emiliano left his footprint. That is why, like many other fans, I would like to honour him by retiring the No. 9.''

Sala disappeared en route to Cardiff from Nantes on Jan. 21 after finalising a deal to join the Premier League club.

An official search for the plane in which he was travelling was called off after three days, and Guernsey harbourmaster David Barker said the chances of finding survivors were "extremely remote."

Following a crowdfunding campaign, the search was reopened on Jan. 27 and, in conjunction with a privately funded vessel, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch began exploring an area about 24 nautical miles north of Guernsey on Sunday morning.

Cushions likely to have come from the plane were discovered on a beach in France near Surtainville on the Cotentin Peninsula by French authorities on Jan. 30.

Investigations are continuing in order to establish what happened, while the AAIB is expected to publish an interim report in the coming weeks.

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