‘This is a dream. A bad dream’: Emiliano Sala’s father details heartbreak as plane wreckage found

‘This is a dream. A bad dream’: Emiliano Sala’s father details heartbreak as plane wreckage found
Horacio Sala described his disbelief as wreckage of the plane carrying his son was found in the English Channel just under two weeks after it went missing ahead of his first training session with new side Cardiff City.

Substantial wreckage of the aircraft was located on Sunday as the privately-funded search continued the hunt for the missing Argentine striker and pilot David Ibbotson, who have been missing since radar contact with the plane was lost on January 21.

Sala’s family had maintained hope that the player would be found alive, though the news that the aircraft was located along with reports that an occupant was visible inside it on the seabed, appear to have extinguished any faint hopes they had.

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"I cannot believe it. This is a dream. A bad dream. I am desperate," Horacio Sala said to Argentina's Cronica TV.

"I communicated with [the search party] every day, but since I do not have WhatsApp it's hard to call them or call me. They told me that the days passed and there was no news of Emiliano or the plane."

Marine scientist David Mearns, who headed the search for the missing plane, described the moment he discovered the plane which had been missing for just under two weeks as "devastating."

"We've had a long trip back and all I could think about was the families," he said. "This is what they wanted us to do, we've achieved it and that's the best we could have hoped for – the best outcome." 

"An incredibly tragic and sad, and a devastating moment, but at least some of their questions will be answered because of what we will be able to do today."

Mearns, a noted shipwreck hunter, was asked to participate in the search for Sala and Ibbotson after the official search for the pair was called off on January 24 amid poor conditions in the English Channel. More than €300,000 (US$342,000) was raised on the crowd-funding website GoFundMe to help pay for the continued search, with footballers Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe understood to be among the donors. 

The investigation to determine the cause of the accident will be led by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), who said that they will consult with the families of Sala and Ibbotson to determine their next move and the measures necessary to retrieve the aircraft from the seabed. 

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