FOOTBALLER Emiliano Sala died of head and trunk injuries after a plane taking him to his new club plunged into the sea, a Bournemouth inquest heard today.

The 28-year-old was on his way to take his place in the Cardiff City team when Air Traffic Controllers lost contact with the plane over the Channel.

Acting Senior Coroner for Dorset, Brendan Allen, was told that Mr Sala was travelling from Nantes in France, where he had previously played and lived.

He was the only passenger on board a Piper Malibu plane piloted by David Ibbotson.

The plane disappeared on Monday January 21 and was found nearly two weeks later in international waters off the coast of Guernsey.

A body later identified as that of Mr Sala was pulled from the wreckage but Mr Ibbotson's body has yet to be found.

The inquest took place in Bournemouth because Mr Sala's body was brought to Portland in Dorset, the nearest part of the British mainland to where the plane was located.

Reporters from nine different media organisations were at the coroner's court in Bournemouth town hall this afternoon to hear brief details about Mr Sala's death.

Senior coroner's officer Ian Parry said Mr Sala, who was born in Argentina, was confirmed dead at the Port of Portland on February 7.

He said investigations are being carried out by the Civil Aviation Authority, the Air Accident Investigation Branch and police.

He said Mr Sala was formally identified by finger print evidence.

A post mortem examination was carried out in Bournemouth by Home Office forensic pathologist Dr Basil Purdue.

Mr Allen said investigators have indicated that inquiries could take a year.

He adjourned the inquest for a pre-inquest review, to be held in November.