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David Mearns, the man leading a private search for the missing plane carrying Argentinian football player Emiliano Sala, says on Sunday that the wreckage has been found.

"Based on analysis of ROV video footage, the AAIB investigators on board the vessel concluded that the object is wreckage from the missing Piper Malibu aircraft", the AAIB said Monday.

Further underwater searches have been taking place today, and it has now been confirmed that one occupant has been seen in the wreckage.

Both Sala and pilot David Ibbotson, 59, are missing presumed dead.

Mr Sala was travelling from France to join up with his new club, Premier League side Cardiff City.

Sala and pilot David Ibbotson, 59, were aboard the Piper Malibu that disappeared from radar on January 21 as it flew from Nantes, France, to Cardiff, Wales.

Earlier on Sunday, Mr Mearns, who claims to have located more than 20 major shipwrecks during his career, said the AAIB had a "high confidence level" the plane would be in the search zone.

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Public pleas from Sala's family, however, as well as a crowdfunding campaign that received contributions from several notable soccer stars including Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe, led to the search being restarted on January 27.

After rescuers and Guernsey police called off the official search, Sala's sister, Romina, organised a GoFundMe page that led to a private search being started, and which eventually found the plane.

"I can't believe it".

The leader of that search team, Mearns, said they would be looking for wreckage and a debris field 120m below the sea's surface, and stated: "We will continue to work until the plane is located".

"I can confirm it has been found", a spokeswoman for Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said.

"Once we locate any wreckage then we go in to the next phase of it which would be to identify it visually with a robotic vehicle called a ROV".


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