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.
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.
‘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.’
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.
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.