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Old 24-01-19, 19:11   #2
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Update re: Search Called Off for Missing Footballer & Crashed Plane

Emiliano Sala's Sister Makes Desperate Plea for Missing Plane Search to Continue

Guernsey Police have called off the search for the £15m Cardiff striker in the English Channel - but Sala's sister Romina has appealed for the authorities not to give up

Romina Sala makes the plea (Image: Sky Sports)

Emiliano Sala's sister has made an emotional plea for the search to continue for her “fighter” brother following the Cardiff City striker’s disappearance.

After completing his club record £15million move to the Premier League on Friday night, Sala was on board a Piper Malibu aircraft which crashed in the Channel Islands on Monday evening.

The 28-year-old and the plane’s pilot – David Ibbotson– were the only men on board the aircraft and despite extensive searches, neither men has been found.

Guernsey Police called off the search on Thursday night with the force rating the chances of survival as “extremely remote”.

Sala’s sister Romina has travelled to Cardiff and in front of the media at the St David’s Hotel in the Welsh capital, appealed for the authorities not to give up.

She said: “We understand the facts and we really appreciate the efforts. We want to say thanks to the two clubs (Cardiff and Nantes) and everyone who is looking for Emiliano, but my message is please, please, please don’t stop with the search. For me, they are still alive.

“It is very difficult to express my feelings at the moment because it is really hard.

“We have had a lot of support from the two clubs and I thank all the fans for their efforts, but deep down in the bottom of my heart I know that Emiliano – who is a fighter – is still alive. I know Emiliano and the pilot are somewhere in the middle of the channel.

“We are not going to give up.”

Sala with his sister and mother

Sala had signed for Cardiff last Friday before the deal was officially confirmed on Saturday. Over the weekend he travelled back to former club Nantes to say goodbye to his team-mates.

His plane back to Cardiff from Nantes on Monday never arrived in the Welsh capital.

The footballer voiced fears about the safety of the missing plane in a WhatsApp audio message he sent to friends. In the message, he said:

“I am here in the plane that seems like it is about to fall to pieces. I'm scared."

Romina Sala added: “The last time I spoke with Emiliano was on Monday before he went to say farewell to the Nantes players. He was really excited to come over to Cardiff and we were in touch all day long sending pictures and messages.

“The comfort and support of the people from around the world with regards to the missing of Emiliano and the pilot has been incredible. Please try to be under the skin of the next of kin to try to understand the suffering of this moment.

"I understand the effort, but the plea is the same – please don’t stop the search. At the bottom of my heart I know Emiliano is still alive and somewhere in the Channel Islands.

“Questions are for another moment. Right now there are two families desperate to know the whereabouts of two people. Questions about how Emiliano went into the plane and what’s happened are for another moment, not right now.

“Without knowing what the next steps are, the next step is to go to the search place to try to push it forwards.

"The only thing I want is to find my brother and see him again.”

Plane Carrying Emiliano Sala 'Could Have Been Brought Down by Deadly Ice on Wings'

The missing aircraft was carrying the Cardiff striker and pilot David Ibbotson when it went missing on Monday night

The plane carrying Cardiff striker Emiliano Sala could have been brought down by deadly ice on the wings, experts have reportedly warned.

Sala, 28, was returning to South Wales having signed for the Bluebirds in a club-record £15million deal.

He had said his goodbyes to Nantes teammates and staff before boarding the light aircraft.

And aviation sources told The Sun that the build-up of ice on the wings could have been the plane's downfall.

One reportedly said: “There are reports that the footballer was texting saying the aircraft is shaking and breaking up.

“These are classic signs of icing on the wings. The pilot is most likely wrestling with a stall at 2,300ft. It is likely, though, that the aircraft hit the water in one piece otherwise debris would have quickly been found.”

A Piper Malibu plane (Image: Take Flight Aviation/Caters)

Pilot David Ibbotson, 35, had admitted he was "a bit rusty" at the controls of the Papier PA-46 plane prior to the flight and the plane went missing over the English Channel.

Both men are missing presumed dead with rescue chiefs admitting there is "no hope" of finding the duo alive.

Cardiff have confirmed they were not responsible for organising the transport for Sala.
In a haunting audio message sent on WhatsApp before the flight, Sala told pals the plane looked like it was "going to fall apart".

Pilot Dave Ibbotson is also feared dead

Sala had just signed for Cardiff in a £15m deal (Image: Maxppp/PA Images)

Guernsey Police confirmed at sunset on Wednesday they had called off the search for the night, and would take a decision on Thursday morning as to whether it would resume.

"After an intensive search using multiple aircraft and one lifeboat over the last nine hours, we have found no trace of the missing plane," they said. "With the light now fading, the search will shortly be suspended for the night.

"A decision about whether to recommence will be taken early tomorrow morning. There will be no further updates tonight."

The pilot flying the plane has been confirmed as 60-year-old Brit Dave Ibbotson, from North Lincolnshire.

Emiliano Sala: Search for Footballer and Pilot Called off - BBC News

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