A body seen in the wreckage of the plane carrying Premier League footballer Emiliano Sala has been successfully recovered.

The small plane carrying Cardiff City striker Sala, 28, and pilot David Ibbotson, 59, was found off the coast of Alderney in the English Channel on Sunday.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch said robot subs were used in “challenging conditions” to pull the body out of the water “in as dignified a way as possible”, The Sun reports.

It has not yet been revealed whether the body was the Argentinian footballer or British pilot.

The body is being taken to Portland to be passed over to the Dorset coroner for examination.

“In challenging conditions, the AAIB and its specialist contractors successfully recovered the body previously seen amidst the wreckage,” the AAIB said.

The rescuers said attempts to pull up the plane wreckage were “unsuccessful” because of poor weather.

The single-engine aircraft went missing at around 8.30pm on January 21 en route from Nantes to Cardiff, where Sala was due to join his new club after a $19 million transfer.

An official search was called off on January 24 but marine scientist David Mearns, who led a privately funded search for the Argentine’s family in conjunction with the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, located the wreckage with sonar technology off Alderney in the Channel Islands.

Sala was being flown on January 21 from the French city of Nantes to Cardiff after being signed by the Welsh capital’s Premier League team.

The striker left Cardiff after signing his deal and returned to Nantes to collect his belongings and say goodbye to teammates and staff of the French topflight club. He never made it back to Cardiff to start playing in the Premier League.

At its first home game since the plane disappeared, Cardiff paid tribute to Sala before a 2-0 victory over Bournemouth on Saturday.

Last week the AAIB said two seat cushions believed to be from the plane were found off Normandy.