Emiliano Sala: Decision due on missing plane search

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Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Rescuers are set to meet to decide whether to resume the search for a missing plane carrying a Premier League footballer Emiliano Sala and a pilot.

Cardiff City striker Sala and pilot David Ibbotson were on the plane that vanished from radar on Monday.

A search of some 1,500 sq miles (3,880 sq km) of the English Channel has found no trace of the missing aircraft.

Guernsey harbourmaster David Barker said rescuers were due to meet at 07:00 GMT to decide “the best way forward”.

However, hopes are dwindling of finding the 28-year-old Argentine or Mr Ibbotson, from Crowle, Lincolnshire, alive.

Sala was heading to the Welsh capital after signing for the Bluebirds from French club Nantes in a £15m deal.

The single-engine plane left Nantes, north-west France, at 19:15 on Monday and had been flying at 5,000ft (1,500m) over the Channel Islands when it disappeared off radar near the Casquets lighthouse, near to Alderney.

The search was suspended on Wednesday night after a second full day of searching and Channel Islands Air Search chief officer John Fitzgerald said “even the most fit person” would only survive for a few hours in the water.

Guernsey harbourmaster David Barker said on Wednesday night: “It has been a long day and covered another enormous area of sea.

“We concentrated the search for a life raft and two occupants but haven’t found them.

“It’s frustrating and we haven’t given up hope. A lot of people have been working very hard in the air, on the sea and on the ground and done all they can.

“The response has been tremendous, also from the public, but we will have to make a decision.

“We will get together at 07:00 and see what is the best forward.”

As part of rescue efforts, police have been looking at satellite images and mobile phone data.

Sala reportedly sent a WhatsApp voice message before the flight. Sounding conversational and jokey, he said he was “so scared”.

Media in Argentina reported he said: “I’m on a plane that looks like it’s going to fall apart.”

His father Horacio Sala said: “As the hours go by it makes me think of the worse. I just want them to find him.”

© BBC

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