Everyone had hope for a miracle in the sad story around Emiliano Sala plane's crash, but the dead body found in the plane wreckage has now been identified as the missing footballer.
Sala and pilot David Ibbotson went missing on 21 January after the new Cardiff City signing said his farewells to his former Nantes teammates. The aircraft carrying Sala back to Cardiff never arrived and was found on sea ground in the English Channel on Sunday.
One body was recovered on Thursday, and the Premier League club has since confirmed the sad news that it was indeed their club-record signing.
"The body brought to Portland Port today, Thursday 7 February 2019, has been formally identified by HM Coroner for Dorset as that of professional footballer Emiliano Sala," a statement on Cardiff City's website read.
"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."
The formal identification of Sala came after remotely operated vehicles in "challenging conditions" were used to recover the body from the wreckage under water "in as dignified a way as possible", the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said, as quoted by Sky Sports.
Poor weather conditions prevented a full recovery of the aircraft, which remains 67m under water. The AAIB has confirmed that, due to a bad weather forecast, "for the foreseeable future, the difficult decision was taken to bring the overall operation to a close".
However, the AAIB has "gathered a huge amount of video evidence, so they do have enough to start to piece together what happened in the final moments before the plane came down", according to Sky News' Katerina Vittozzi.
The two clubs involved could now end up in a legal battle over the transfer fee for the late striker after Nantes reportedly requested that the first instalment of his £15 million (R263 million) transfer fee be paid.
We, at Soccer Laduma, send our condolences to the families and friends of Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson.