On 3 February, the wreckage of the Piper Malibu (N264DB) carrying Emiliano Sala and piloted by David Ibbotson was located by the FPV MORVEN. Both Sala and the pilot are presumed to have lost their lives when the aircraft disappeared from radar on 21 January.
The Geo Ocean III departed Ostend, moved over to the position and used a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) – an unoccupied underwater robot that is connected to the ship by a series of cables – to visually identify the wreckage.
David Mearns, a shipwreck hunter tweeted: “The families of Emiliano Sala and David Ibbotson have been notified by Police. The AAIB will be making a statement tomorrow. Tonight our sole thoughts are with the families and friends of Emiliano and David.”
On 21 January, the aircraft left Nantes Airport for Cardiff. Shortly after the disappearance, the French authorities announced that 28-year-old football professional Emiliano Sala, who signed a three-and-a-half year contract at Cardiff City Football Club, was the passenger on board.