A still from underwater footage of the wreckage of the Piper Malibu plane. Photo courtesy U.K. Air Accidents Investigation Branch
Feb. 6 (UPI) -- A body has been recovered from the wreckage of a plane that crashed into the English Channel mid-January transporting Argentine soccer star Emiliano Sala, investigators said.
U.K. Air Accidents Investigation Branch said in a statement Wednesday that the retrieval operation was "carried out in as dignified a way as possible and the families were kept informed of the process," The Guardian reported.
The body, which has yet to be identified, has been taken to the island of Portland where it will be delivered to the Dorset corner for examination, RTE reported
The AAIR used remotely controlled vehicles in "challenging conditions" to remove the body, which was first sighted Monday during a joint search operation with Blue Water Recoveries Ltd. that began the day before.
Due to poor weather conditions, attempts to recover the aircraft wreckage were unsuccessful, it said.
"The weather forecast is poor for the foreseeable future and so the difficult decision was taken to bring the overall operation to a close," the AAIR said.
The wreckage was discovered Sunday night 67 meters underwater and 21 miles off the coast of Guernsey. Video footage of the wreckage showed that an unidentified body was inside, AAIB said.
David Ibbotson, 59, was piloting the U.S.-registered Piper Malibu plane, flying from Nantes, France, to Cardiff, Wales, when it disappeared from radar Jan. 21 transporting the 28-year-old soccer star to his new home.
Sala had recently signed a $19.3-million contract with English Premier League club Cardiff City.