Emiliano Sala: Rescue workers call off search for Cardiff City striker’s missing plane

RESCUE workers have called off their search for the missing plane carrying footballer Emiliano Sala, Guernsey's harbour master has said.

Thursday, 24th January 2019, 3:05 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 6:55 pm
Tributes left outside Cardiff City Football Club after a plane with new signing Emiliano Sala on board went missing over the English Channel on Monday night. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

The Cardiff City striker's plane disappeared from radar over the English Channel on Monday night.

Captain David Barker said on Wednesday that the chances Sala and his pilot David Ibbotson had survived were ‘extremely remote’.

Coastguard helicopters from Lee-on-the-Solent and Newquay had aided in the search for the missing plane this week. 

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Emiliano Sala was on-board the plan when it went missing last night. Picture: AP Photo/David Vincent

After scanning thousands of square miles and reviewing all ‘information available' the

‘difficult decision to end the search’ was taken, Captain Barker said.

‘The chances of survival at this stage are extremely remote,’ he added.

‘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.’

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Rescue teams scanned around 1,700 square miles and examined mobile phone data and satellite imagery but had not found ‘any trace’ of the plane, Captain Barker said.

There has been more than 24 hours of continuous searching, with 80 hours combined flying time across three planes and five helicopters.

Two lifeboats were also involved and help was provided by passing ships and fishing boats.

Captain Barker added: ‘The final aircraft searching for the missing plane and those on board has now landed.

‘Although we are no longer actively searching, the incident remains open and we will be broadcasting to all vessels and aircraft in the area to keep a look out for any trace of the aircraft.

‘This will continue indefinitely.' 

Emiliano Sala was Cardiff City’s record-signing after the Premier League club completed a  £15 million move for the former Nantes striker, which was announced on Saturday. 

Sala had been saying goodbye to his former Nantes teammates before flying to Cardiff on Monday night.