Rescuers end search for missing plane carrying Sala

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A fan pays respect at Cardiff.

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24/01/2019 at 15:35 | Updated 24/01/2019 at 16:02

Rescuers said on Thursday they had ended the search for the plane carrying Premier League player Emiliano Sala which disappeared over the English Channel three days ago, adding the chances of survival were extremely remote.

"Next of kin have been informed of this development and my thoughts go out to the family of the pilot and passenger at this most difficult of times," Guernsey Harbour Master David Barker said in a statement.

The search was suspended on Wednesday night, with Guernsey Police saying a decision whether to recommence would be taken on Thursday morning.


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In an update released at 7.50am on Thursday, Guernsey Police confirmed the search had begun once again.

Emiliano Sala

Image credit: Getty Images

“We are commencing a coastal search using the Channel Islands Air Search plane off Burhou, the Casquets, Alderney, the north coast of the Cherbourg Peninsula, north coast of Jersey and then back over Sark,” the update read.

“Further information released when available.”

The force posted a further update at 10:50am on Thursday morning to say the search was “ongoing” and that a decision about continuing would be made once the morning’s search pattern had been completed. At 1.20pm police confirmed no trace of the aircraft or those on board had been found when the island of Burhou was searched on foot.

Cardiff chairman Mehmet Dalman admitted on Wednesday night that “it doesn’t look good” for Sala, who was aboard an aeroplane which disappeared from radar en route from Nantes to Cardiff on Monday evening.

Guernsey Police have so far found “no trace” of the light aircraft.

Dalman, who described Sala’s disappearance as a “tragic accident”, said the Piper PA-46 Malibu plane was not organised by the club.

Cardiff chief executive Ken Choo revealed the club would not be granted an extension to the transfer window by the Premier League despite the disappearance of Sala, who was signed for around £15million only last Saturday.

“I think from the club’s perspective, we are managing the situation but we have another department that has to continue with looking at the transfers,” Choo told talkSPORT.

“We are still running a business which continues, we still have to meet the transfer deadline.

“We have spoken to the Premier League on how tough it is for us to cope given there are eight days to go (until the deadline) and we have been watching Emiliano for months and we got it over the line finally. The bottom line from the Premier League is that you have to meet the deadline like everyone else.”

Football agent Mark McKay said he was involved in the travel arrangements for Sala, telling Sky Sports News: “I can confirm that when Emiliano made myself and his agent Meissa N’Diaye aware that he wished to travel back to Nantes following his medical and signing on Friday, I began to look into arranging a private flight to take him to Nantes on Saturday morning.

“That evening, it was confirmed a plane was available to fly Emiliano on Saturday which could remain in Nantes until he was due to return to Cardiff.

“I have been in contact with officials from Cardiff and the player’s agent over these difficult past few days and will continue to do so.”

Humberside Police confirmed on Wednesday evening that Ibbotson, from Crowle, near Scunthorpe, was the pilot.

A WhatsApp voice message from Sala said he was “getting scared” and boarding a plane “that seems like it is falling to pieces” according to Argentinian outlet Ole.

The rescue operation has targeted an area of 280 square miles around Alderney using multiple aircraft from the Channel Islands, France and the United Kingdom.


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