A body recovered from underwater wreckage of the plane carrying Emiliano Sala has been formally identified as the footballer, police said.

Sala was identified by the Dorset coroner on Thursday after his body was pulled from the plane, which had been flown by pilot David Ibbotson, the previous day.

Dorset Police said in a statement: "The body brought to Portland Port today, Thursday February 7 2019, has been formally identified by HM Coroner for Dorset as that of professional footballer Emiliano Sala.

"The families of Mr Sala and the pilot David Ibbotson have been updated with this news and will continue to be supported by specially-trained family liaison officers.

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Romina Sala (right), sister of Emiliano Sala, visits tributes at the Cardiff City Stadium last week. Photo / Getty
Romina Sala (right), sister of Emiliano Sala, visits tributes at the Cardiff City Stadium last week. Photo / Getty

"Our thoughts remain with them at this difficult time.

"HM Coroner will continue to investigate the circumstances of this death supported by Dorset Police."

The Piper Malibu N264DB plane lost contact with air traffic control over the Channel, north of Guernsey, on Monday January 21.

An initial search and rescue operation failed to locate the plane but it was later discovered by the Air Accident Investigation Branch and privately funded search teams.