Two seat cushions likely to have come from the plane carrying missing Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala have been found on a French beach, the Air Accidents  Investigation Branch said, Telegraph reported.

The plane and its occupants have been missing for more than a week having vanished over the English Channel, and up to now nothing has been spotted or retrieved.

On Wednesday, Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) announced the discovery of the plane parts, which were found on Monday.

They have now identified a four-mile area they want to search in an attempt to retrieve the wreckage.

An AAIB spokesman said: “On the morning of Monday, January 28, we were advised by the Bureau d’Enquetes and d’Analyses, the French safety investigation authority, that part of a seat cushion had been found on a beach near Surtainville on the Cotentin Peninsula.

“A second cushion was found in the same area later that day. From a preliminary examination, we have concluded that it is likely that the cushions are from the missing aircraft.”

The official search for the missing footballer was called off on Thursday against his family’s wishes.

Since then, a privately-funded search has been scouring the Channel for signs of the missing plane and its occupants – the footballer and pilot David Ibbotson.

The AAIB has been conducting its own operation alongside the searches, and they are expected to begin an underwater search on the weekend.

The cushions were discovered by the AAIB on the beach in north-eastern France, around 40 miles from where the aircraft vanished above Guernsey.

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