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Emiliano Sala's body identified by HM Coroner following plane crash

Dorset Police say the body recovered from a plane which crashed in the English Channel has been formally identified as Cardiff striker Emiliano Sala.

Sala, 28, and pilot David Ibbotson have been missing since the plane they were flying in lost contact with Air Traffic Control on Monday, January 21.

The Piper Malibu aircraft was found on the seabed of the English Channel on Sunday morning - and a body was recovered from the wreckage on Wednesday.

Emiliano Sala 1990-2019 Born in Argentina, made in France - a tribute to a popular player

A Dorset Police statement on Thursday night read: "The body brought to Portland Port today, Thursday 7 February 2019, has been formally identified by HM Coroner for Dorset as that of professional footballer Emiliano Sala.

"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. Our thoughts remain with them at this difficult time.

"HM Coroner will continue to investigate the circumstances of this death supported by Dorset Police.

A timeline since the disappearance of Emiliano Sala on January 21

"On Monday 21 January 2019, a plane carrying both men was flying from Nantes to Cardiff when it lost contact with Air Traffic Control, north of Guernsey.

"Sadly a search and rescue operation was unsuccessful in locating the plane and the two occupants.

"Subsequently AAIB and privately funded search teams were deployed to the relevant area. Using specialist equipment, the teams succeeded in locating and identifying the plane and recovering Mr Sala's body."

Image: Fans paid tribute to Sala at a shrine outside the Stade de la Beaujoire before Nantes' game with Saint-Etienne on January 30 Argentine striker Sala's transfer to Cardiff from Nantes had been announced just two days before the plane disappeared as it carried him back to the Welsh capital.

The wreckage of the plane was located 21 miles off the coast of Guernsey and, after the body was recovered, it was taken to Portland Port in Dorset, where the process of formal identification took place.

Image: Sala joined Nantes in 2015 and was a regular goalscorer for the French club A statement from Cardiff read: "We offer our most heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the family of Emiliano.

"He and David will forever remain in our thoughts."

#ProfundoDolor Ante la confirmación del fallecimiento de Emiliano Sala, le enviamos nuestras condolencias a toda su familia y seres queridos #PrayForSala pic.twitter.com/Wa7jt5ThTy

— AFA (@afa) February 7, 2019 The Argentine Football Association wrote on Twitter: "Profound pain over the death of Emiliano Sala.

"Our condolences to his family and loved ones."