The search for the plane carrying Emiliano Sala has been called off.
After a third day of searching the sea surrounding the Channel Islands in the English Channel, Guernsey Police have announced that they have “taken the difficult decision to end the search” and that “next of kin have been informed” of the decision.
The small aircraft which was carrying the 28-year-old Argentine striker from Nantes, France to Cardiff, Wales disappeared from radars on Monday evening near Alderney. The pilot, David Ibbotson, was the only other person on board the aircraft and both he and Sala have not been found.
Sala signed for Premier League side Cardiff on Saturday from Nantes for a club-record fee, reported to be close to $19 million. The striker was on his way to Wales for his first training session after saying farewell to his Nantes teammates in France.
Vincent Tan, the owner of Cardiff City, released the following statement after it was confirmed the search for Sala and Ibbotson had been called off.
“Monday evening’s news shook everyone at Cardiff City FC to the core. We were looking forward to providing Emiliano with the next step in his life and career. Those who met Emiliano described a good-natured and humble young man who was eager to impress in the Premier League,” Tan said. “The response from the football community has been truly touching and we place on record our sincere thanks to those who have sent messages of support. We also thank everyone involved with the search and rescue operation, and continue to pray for Emiliano, David Ibbotson and their families.”
Outlets in Argentine have revealed that Sala sent Whatsapp messages to friends and family saying he was scared and there was an issue with the plane.
Below is the statement in full from Guernsey police.