Belfast Telegraph

Police resume search for Sala plane

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

A tribute is left to Emiliano Sala outside Cardiff’s stadium (Ben Birchall/PA)
A tribute is left to Emiliano Sala outside Cardiff’s stadium (Ben Birchall/PA)

Guernsey Police have resumed the search for the missing plane which was carrying new Cardiff striker Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson.

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

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

“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.

Cardiff chief executive Ken Choo says the club must continue to conduct transfer activity (PA Wire)

“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.

Nantes supporters gather for a vigil in honour of Sala (David Vincent/PA)

“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.



From Belfast Telegraph