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Emiliano Sala's body to be returned to Argentina on Friday

Remains of the Argentine striker will be repatriated on Friday from England, before heading onto Progreso, his hometown.

Wednesday 13 February, 2019
A giant canvas showing Argentine player Emiliano Sala is pictured in La Beaujoire stadium before the French Ligue 1 match Nantes against Saint-Etienne.
A giant canvas showing Argentine player Emiliano Sala is pictured in La Beaujoire stadium before the French Ligue 1 match Nantes against Saint-Etienne. Foto:AP

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Emiliano Sala's body is to be returned to Argentina on Friday, the mayor of his hometown of Progreso, Julio Muller, has announced.

Sala's body was recovered from plane wreckage in the English Channel last week. He was flying to his new team, English Premier League side Cardiff City, from his old French club Nantes when his plane went missing over the Channel on January 21.

The player's remains will be taken to London-Heathrow airport tomorrow, arriving in Buenos Aires on Friday at 9.05am via a British Airways flight, a diplomat in Buenos Aires told AFP.

"The family will wait for him at Ezeiza, then a funeral company will transport him to Progreso," the source added.

Muller, speaking to the AFP news agency, said Sala's body would arrive in the late afternoon and be taken to the gymnasium next to his youth club's headquarters, where a vigil was scheduled.

"The remains of Emi arrive on Friday afternoon in Progreso. In the gymnasium of club San Martín [the club where Sala began playing], a wake will be organized," Muller told AFP.

"From Ezeiza airport to Progreso, it's a six-hour trip," he explained, adding that Sala's "mother, sister and brother have already arrived in Progreso."

British authorities formally identified Sala's body last week, after which his family said they could "now begin to mourn our son and our brother."

A former coach at the club, Diego Solis, said Sala will get "the tribute he deserves" on Friday and Saturday.

"There will be a lot of people, the sports centre is a symbolic place, he always went in. I feel a lot of pain, he was very loved and a great example for the kids," said Solis

Sala, who was 28, died of "head and trunk injuries," an inquest in England heard on Monday. The footballer was formally identified by his fingerprints. 

He was travelling in a light aircraft that disappeared near the British island of Guernsey on January 21.

The wreckage was found on the seabed more than two weeks later but though Sala's body was able to be recovered, that of the the 59-year-old pilot, David Ibbotson, remains missing.

Sala's former team gave him a rousing send off on Sunday, playing a French league match in a special all black kit for the occasion, with each player wearing the Argentine's name on the back of their jersey rather than their own.

- TIMES/AFP

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