As bad weather continues to hit the Channel, the Air Accident Investigation Branch has been able to recover the body but not the remains of the plane involved in the recent crash.
A recovery operation was attempted today, and in "challenging conditions" the AAIB and its specialist contractors have "successfully recovered the body previously seen amidst the wreckage."
The body is believed to be that of either that of pilot Dave Ibbotson or footballer Emiliano Sala, but that won't be confirmed until after forensic tests have been carried out in the UK.
Pictured: David Ibbotson and Emiliano Sala.
The light aircraft carrying the two men disappeared as it flew from Nantes to Cardiff on Monday 21 January.
It was found lying on the sea bed north west of Alderney on Sunday.
The AAIB has been working at the site since then and tonight their vessel, the GEO III was seen to leave the area, heading for England. In a statement, the AAIB has now confirmed they have retrieved the body seen on board the plane.
"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."
The AAIB's enquiries will continue, with an update still expected within weeks.
"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. We expect our next update to be an interim report, which we intend to publish within one month of the accident occurring."
Pictured top: Footage of the stricken Piper Malibu provided by the AAIB.
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