This morning, United Kingdom’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) issued a follow-up press release on the crash of a Piper Malibu (N264DB) carrying Emiliano Sala and piloted by David Ibbotson. One body has been successfully recovered from the wreckage, but due to poor weather conditions it wasn’t possible to recover the wreckage: “A difficult decision was taken to bring the overall operation to a close,” the AAIB said.
Press statement of the AAIB (7 February 2019)
Following extensive visual examination of the accident site using the remotely operated vehicle (ROV), it was decided to attempt recovery operations.
In challenging conditions, the AAIB and its specialist contractors successfully recovered the body previously seen amidst the wreckage, a Piper Malibu (N264DB). The operation was carried out in as dignified a way as possible and the families were kept informed of progress.
Unfortunately, attempts to recover the aircraft wreckage were unsuccessful before poor weather conditions forced us to return the ROV to the ship. 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 body is currently being taken to Portland to be passed into the care of the Dorset Coroner.
Although it was not possible to recover the aircraft, the extensive video record captured by the ROV is expected to provide valuable evidence for our safety investigation.