Search team finds seat cushions ‘likely from missing aircraft’ that was carrying footballer

Investigators have found two airplane seat cushions which are believed to have been from the missing aircraft” which went missing while carrying newly signed Cardiff striker Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson.

Sala signed for Cardiff on January 19 and was flying back to Wales from France when his plane disappeared from radar on January 21.

A search and rescue mission was quickly initiated, but without much luck, prompting authorities to turn it into a recovery mission.

On Wednesday, Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said it had found what it believed was part of the missing plane’s seat cushions.

It says it has narrowed down the search and has commissioned experts to conduct underwater searches.

“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,” AAIB said in a statement.

“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.”