Police call off search for Emiliano Sala three days after plane crash

By Mirror: Thursday, January 24th 2019 at 19:22 GMT +3 | Football
[PHOTO: COURTESY]

The search for Emiliano Sala, the £15million Cardiff City striker who has been missing since Monday night, has been called off by Guernsey Police.

The Argentine was on board a light aircraft which disappeared en route from Nantes to the Welsh capital.

Search and rescue teams have been searching for Sala and pilot David Ibbotson for the last two days, and continued again on Thursday morning, but found "no trace" of the aircraft.

A statement from Harbour Master Captain David Barker read: "My team have just met to review the search and rescue operation which has been underway since the plane disappeared on Monday night.

[PHOTO: COURTESY]

"Despite the best efforts of air and search assets from the Channel Islands, UK and France, which has covered an area of approximately 1,700sq. miles - with a significant amount of this searched more than once - and having examined mobile phone data and satellite imagery, we have been unable to find any trace of the aircraft, the pilot or the passenger.

"There has been over 24 hours of continuous searching, with 80 hours combined flying time across three planes and five helicopters. Two lifeboats have also been involved, as well as assistance from various passing ships and fishing boats.

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"We reviewed all the information available to us, as well as knowing what emergency equipment was on board, and have taken the difficult decision to end the search.

“The chances of survival at this stage are extremely remote.

“Next of kin have been informed of this development, and my thoughts go out to the family of the pilot and the passenger at this most difficult of times.

“This has been a very thorough and extensive search, co-ordinated from the Guernsey-based Joint Emergency Services Control Centre and has seen exemplary co-operation from all countries involved, which I would like to extend my personal thanks.

“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.”

The single-engine plane left Nantes, north-west France 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.

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