Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala died from “head and trunk injuries” and was formally identified by his fingerprints, an inquest heard today.
Acting senior Dorset coroner Brendan Allen heard evidence as an inquest into Sala’s death opened on Monday that a post-mortem examination had given his cause of death as “1a) head and trunk injuries”.
The hearing, which lasted five minutes and took place at Bournemouth Town Hall in the absence of members of Sala’s family, was adjourned until November.
The Argentine footballer was travelling from Nantes to Cardiff in a light aircraft flown by pilot David Ibbotson when it lost contact with air traffic control over the Channel north of Guernsey on January 21.
Sala’s body was recovered from the underwater wreckage last week and brought to shore at Portland, which is why the inquest is taking place in Dorset.
Senior coroner’s officer Ian Parry confirmed Sala was pronounced dead at Portland port on February 7 and was formally identified by fingerprints.
His full name was given as Emiliano Raul Sala, who was born in October 1990 at Esperanza, Santa Fe, Argentina.
“On Monday January 21 a Malibu aircraft left Nantes airport for Cardiff,” Mr Parry said.
“The aircraft was carrying two persons, the pilot David Ibbotson and passenger Emiliano Raul Sala.
“Air traffic control lost contact with the aircraft during the flight and an extensive search commenced off waters at Guernsey.
“Subsequently the plane was located on the sea bed in international waters.
“Following a closer examination of the site a body, later identified as Mr Sala, was found and recovered.
“To date the pilot, Mr Ibbotson, has not been found.
“Police, Air Accidents Investigation Branch and the Civil Aviation Authority are continuing with their inquiries.”
A fundraising campaign to restart the search for Mr Ibbotson has already raised more than £150,000 of a £300,000 target.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, his daughter Danielle said her father would not give up looking for her if she was missing, so she would not give up on him.
“If you’ve got hope then you shouldn’t give up,” she said. “He wouldn’t stop searching for me.”
She added: “We still hope and pray and hope everyone keeps my dad in their prayers.”
A web page raising funds to continue the search for Mr Ibbotson was set up on Friday.
A donation under the name of broadcaster and former footballer Gary Lineker of £1,000 is registered on the page, which he shared with his 7.2 million Twitter followers on Saturday.
A £27,000 donation under the name Elie Lottin, apparently made by France’s World Cup winning footballer Kylian Sanmi Mbappe Lottin, is also listed.
Sala’s body was recovered in a privately funded search, which was launched after the initial search was called off three days after the men and their plane went missing.
Although Mr Ibbotson, 59, of Crowle, Lincolnshire, has not been located, poor weather conditions meant a “difficult decision was taken to bring the overall operation to a close”, a spokesman for the Air Accidents Investigation Branch said on Wednesday.
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