THERE IS “NO HOPE” IN FINDING MISSING CARDIFF CITY FOOTBALL EMILIANO SALA.
Club football in England may be facing a major loss after 28 year old Argentine striker, who was on a flight together with a pilot on board, as their aircraft went off the radar around Alderney in the Channel Islands on the night of Monday 21. Sala was heading to the Welsh capital city after signing for the Bluebirds from French club Nantes in a £15m deal the previous weekend.
While the search for the missing plane and its occupants resumed on Wednesday 23 January. Guernsey Police said there were three planes and one helicopter in the air as they searched for traces of the Piper Malibu aircraft. .According to one of the officers, there has been no trace of the aircraft yet. “There’s no hope in finding missing Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala,” a rescue official has said.
Chief Officer of Channel Islands Air Search, John Fitzgerald, said that even the fittest person would only last a few hours in the water. Considering the fact it is still winter, the conditions in the waters are very extreme.
Sala reportedly sent a Whatsapp voice message to his family, saying he was “so scared” as the plane looked like it was going to fall apart. The Officers are also reviewing satellite images and mobile phone data to see if they can be of any assistance in the search.
The single-engine plane left Nantes in north-west France, at 19:15 on Monday and had been flying at 5,000ft (1,500m) when it contacted the Jersey island air traffic control requesting descent. It then lost contact while at 2,300ft (700m) and disappeared off radar near the Casquets lighthouse, infamous among mariners as the site of many shipwrecks, eight miles (13km) north-west of Alderney.
According to the officials, Jersey’s inshore lifeboat is still following up reports on the plane’s debris at Bouley Bay, which is in the north of the island. A French military jet is also expected to join the search, which is likely to go on until late on this Wednesday. Air and sea crews from the Channel Islands in France as well as from the UK took part in a 15-hour search on Tuesday, but found no trace of the aircraft or its occupants.
Police officers in Guernsey were not able to confirm if floating objects seen belonged to the aircraft and warned that chances of passenger survival were “slim”. Guernsey harbormaster Captain David Barker, who is leading the Channel Islands search, said they had covered more than 1,200 sq miles (3,100 sq km).
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said a PA-46-310P Malibu aircraft, registered in the United States, had a pilot and one passenger on board when it vanished. It has started an investigation, working with counterparts in the US, France and Argentina.
Julian Bray, an aviation expert and journalist, said the aircraft was a single engine, six-sitter plane. “I listened to the Whatsapp recording by Sala but was particularly listening to the engine sounds, which I must admit sounded slightly ropey – it didn’t sound as smooth as it should be,” he said.
Mr. Bray said the request to descend by the pilot could have been due to an issue of pressure onboard the aircraft, which did not deviate from its course. It has also been reported that the player’s club had not booked the plane and Sala had made his own flight arrangements.