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Emiliano Sala died from horrific injuries to his head and body in plane crash

Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala died from severe injuries when the plane he was flying in crashed into the English Channel, an inquest has heard.

The striker, 28, suffered fatal ‘head and trunk injuries’ after the Piper PA-46 Malibu plane lost contact with air traffic control on January 21, a post-mortem examination revealed.

The Argentine footballer was flying from Nantes to Cardiff in the light aircraft being flown by pilot David Ibbotson when it crashed in water off Guernsey.

Supporters pay tribute and look at yellow flowers displayed in front of the portrait of Argentinian forward Emiliano Sala at the Beaujoire stadium in Nantes, on February 10, 2019. - FC Nantes football club announced on February 8, 2019 that it will freeze the #9 jersey as a tribute to Cardiff City and former Nantes footballer Emiliano Sala who died in a plane crash in the English Channel on January 21, 2019. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP)LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images

Supporters pay tribute in front of the portrait of Argentinian forward Emiliano Sala at the Beaujoire stadium in Nantes (Picture: AFP)

Emiliano Sala - missing plane (Picture: Emiliano Sala/Instagram)

Emiliano Sala died when the plane he was travelling in from Nantes, France, to Cardiff, Wales, crashed in the sea (Picture: Emiliano Sala/Instagram)

Sala’s body was recovered from the wreckage found 220ft underwater last week and brought to shore at Portland, which is why the inquest is taking place in Dorset.

Ian Parry, a senior coroner’s officer for Dorset, said Sala was officially pronounced dead when his body arrived in Portland on February 7.

The body was identified using finger print evidence analysed by an expert, Christopher Bradbury.

Home Office Forensic Pathologist Basil Purdue carried out a post-mortem examination which confirmed the cause of death as injuries to Sala’s head and body.

Mr Parry said: ‘The Malibu aircraft left the airport in France for Cardiff with two people on board, the pilot David Ibbotson and passenger Emiliano Sala.

The pilot missing after his plane is thought to have crashed carrying Argentinian footballer Emiliano Sala has been identified as Dave Ibbotson from Northern Lincolnshire. Mr Ibbotson, an experienced private pilot from Crowle near Scunthorpe, is missing along with Sala after their plane vanished flying from the French city of Nantes to Wales where he had just signed for Cardiff City. caption: Dave Ibbotson

Pilot David Ibbotson from Northern Lincolnshire has still not been found (Picture: BPM)

TOPSHOT - A handout video footage still image released by the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) shows the rear left side of the fuselage, including part of the aircraft registration, identified as part of the wreckage from the missing Piper Malibu aircraft that disappeared two weeks ago carrying footballer Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson lying on the seabed under the English Channel. - British investigators on February 4 said they had spotted a body in underwater images of the wreckage of the plane carrying footballer Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson that disappeared in the Channel two weeks ago. (Photo by HO / AAIB / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / AAIB " - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTSHO/AFP/Getty Images

Video footage identified the plane wreckage 220ft underwater off the coast of Guernsey (Picture: AFP)

‘Air traffic control lost contact during the flight and an extensive search operation was carried out.

‘The plane was located on the seabed in international waters.

‘The body later identified as Mr Sala was found and recovered.’

He added: ‘A post-mortem was carried out after the body was taken to Holly Tree Lodge mortuary.

‘Home office pathologist Mr Purdue gave the cause of death as 1a head and trunk injuries.’

A body is taken off the Geo Ocean III, recovered from the wreckage of a plane carrying Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala at Weymouth harbour, south west England on February 7, 2019. - Investigators recovered a body in the Channel and transported it to Britain today for identification. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images

Sala’s body is taken off the search vessel Geo Ocean III at Weymouth harbour on February 7 (Picture: AFP)

The inquest was opened at Dorset Coroner’s Court in Bournemouth today as a fundraising appeal to find David Ibbotson rose to £150,000.

Mr Ibbotson, 59, of Crowle, Lincolnshire, is still missing after the plane crash.

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This morning, Mr Ibbotson’s wife and daughter said they will never stop searching for him.

In an emotional interview with Good Morning Britain, his wife Nora said: ‘He’s dead, we know that – but we just want him home.’

A pre-inquest review will take place in Bournemouth on November 6 once an investigation by the AAIB and CAA investigation has concluded.

The GoFundMe campaign for David Ibbotson is available here.

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