Work continues to recover body from plane carrying Cardiff City's latest signing

6 February 2019, 10:13 | Updated: 6 February 2019, 12:50

Geo Ocean III

The aircraft was found underwater on Sunday after disappearing over the English Channel 2 weeks ago.

Work is continuing on the operation to recover the body located in the wreck of the plane carrying footballer Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson, investigators have said.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) announced on Tuesday evening that it is using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to try and recover the body.

A decision will then be made on whether to attempt to recover the aircraft, which is 67m underwater 21 miles off the coast of Guernsey in the English Channel.

A spokesman for the AAIB said on Wednesday morning: "The operation is ongoing and we do not have an update at the moment."

The remains of the plane were discovered on Sunday evening. It had disappeared on January 21 as it travelled from Nantes in France to Cardiff.

The AAIB said previously that the work of the ROVs has been hampered by the difficult tidal conditions around the Channel Islands.

The plane had requested to descend before it lost contact with Jersey air traffic control.

An official search operation was called off on January 24 after Guernsey's harbour master David Barker said the chances of survival following such a long period were "extremely remote".

The remains of the aircraft were tracked down by a team co-ordinated by ocean scientist David Mearns, who has located some of the most elusive wrecks in the world.

Mr Mearns - known as the "Shipwreck Hunter" - and his team located the aircraft within two hours of commencing their search.

He told the Press Association the discovery had been so quick because the team had been looking for a static object rather than in a dynamic environment searching for survivors.

"No-one should walk away with the impression that the Coastguard and also the Channel Islands air search did anything other than a professional job," he said.

Mr Mearns, who has been in close contact with the Sala family, welcomed the decision by the AAIB to attempt to recover the body.

He tweeted on Tuesday evening: "This is most welcome news from the AAIB, and now we wish the SALMO and GEO OCEAN III team has the best possible conditions for a successful recovery."

"SALMO" is the Government's Salvage and Marine Operations department - the team responsible for physically recovering wrecks working in partnership with the AAIB.