BASED ON AVIATION WEATHER forecasts and on a WhatsApp message that described rough flying conditions, it's possible the light aircraft carrying Emiliano Sala encountered in-flight icing conditions before entering an aerodynamic stall. My thoughts are with the families of the pilot Ibbotson and passenger Sala as the accident investigation commences in earnest.
I discussed the mishap on air with Tipp Today host Fran Curry, drawing on my experience as a certified flight instructor with single engine and multi-engine aircraft. Fran was intrigued when he read about David Mearns, a shipwreck hunter. Mearns has found two dozen vessels, including the MV Derbyshire, the largest British ship lost at sea, which sank in a typhoon south of Japan in 1980.
Mearns contacted the Sala family offering free assistance. The UK Air Accidents Investigations Branch thought the cost of a specialised undersea recovery effort would be prohibitive. A crowd funding campaign ensued, backed by many footballers. In just two days, they raised more than 300,000 euro to fund equipment for a private search.
As I explained to Fran Curry, Mearns and his eight man crew set out in the Morven, a 65 foot survey vessel with an ecoho sounder and side scan sonar, able to detect anomalies on the sea bed. Within two hours and five minutes, Mearns had found the wreckage.
And as the aircraft investigation continues, my condolences go out to the Sala and Ibbotson families. I hope they get closure.