David Mearns, a marine scientist who was directing the search, used high-tech sonar to locate the wreckage.
More than $475,000 was raised online to allow Sala's family to fund the private search around the Channel Islands.
Mearns said that the wreckage was located by a search vessel provided by Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) and manned by his own crew.
"Tonight our sole thoughts are with the families and friends of Emiliano and David", Mearns said.
Sala had just completed a £15 million move from Nantes to Cardiff when he was returning to Wales after saying goodbye to his former teammates.
Speaking from Guernsey harbour, Mr Mearns said his team would work jointly with a second vessel commissioned by the AAIB.
Search director David Mearns confirmed on Sky News that the plane had been found.
The plane had requested to descend then lost contact with Jersey air traffic control.
Cushions from the plane were found on a beach near Surtainville, France, on Monday.
The footballer, 28, had been visiting his former Nantes team and was due to begin training at his new club the following day.
Initial search and rescue efforts had spanned three days without finding any trace of the plane, before the authorities opted to call a halt to their scanning of the area.
Sala's family arrived on Guernsey following his disappearance and were taken to see the area, circling the island of Alderney.
Neil Warnock felt missing striker Emiliano Sala "was with us" after Cardiff boosted their bid to beat Premier League relegation with an emotional 2-0 victory over Bournemouth.
"Knowing the lad, Emiliano, as I did, I knew he would be with us today".