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The AAIB have not been able to identify whether the individual in the plane is Sala or Ibbotson, however, but are working with the police and the families of both men to determine the next steps of the investigation.

"This is about the best result we could have hoped for the families", Mearns told Sky News.

The 28-year-old forward had been en route from Nantes in western France to make his debut for Welsh team Cardiff City when the plane is believed to have crashed into the sea on January 21.

Sala and David Ibbotson, the pilot of the small aircraft, are presumed dead by authorities.

There was no immediate official confirmation of what was found but the shipwreck specialist leading the private investigation, David Mearns, said the missing plane had been discovered. David Mearns, a renowned marine scientist and oceanographer, on Sunday night revealed that his team located the plane's wreckage that morning, not long after they set off from Guernsey.

The Piper Malibu N264DB carrying the 28-year-old Cardiff City footballer and pilot David Ibbotson, 59, was found off the coast of Alderney yesterday evening - nearly two weeks after it disappeared. When contacted by Argentina's Cronica TV, Sala's father, Horacio, was in disbelief over the news, saying it was "a bad dream".

The AAIB said in a statement: "The ROV carried out a further search of the area overnight, but did not identify any additional pieces of wreckage".

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The termination caused an outcry, with supporters of the family - and footballers, including Sala's compatriot Lionel Messi - calling for the search to be resumed.

"Tonight our sole thoughts are with the families and friends of Emiliano and David", Mearns said.

The Argentine star joined the Premier League side Cardiff City during the January transfer window but failed to kick a ball at his new club.

This photo made available by Josette Bernard on Wednesday Jan. 30, 2019, shows a seat cushion from a plane on a beach at Surtainville, France.

There were a series of heartfelt tributes before kick-off, with Sala's photograph appearing on the front cover of the matchday programme and the two captains, Sol Bamba and Andrew Surman, laying floral tributes on the halfway line before what the club called a "silent reflection".

Cardiff beat Bournemouth 2-0 on Saturday in their first home match since the disappearance of their record £15 million signing.


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