Footballer Sala’s missing plane found — investigators

The missing plane carrying Argentinian footballer Emiliano Sala and his pilot has been found, investigators said on Sunday.

Sala, 28, was travelling from France to join up with his new club, Premier League side Cardiff City, in a light aircraft manned by David Ibbotson on January 21 when it disappeared close to the Channel Islands.

Tributes were paid to the striker on both sides of the Channel over the weekend as hopes faded he would be found alive, and Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) on Sunday told AFP the plane’s wreckage had been discovered.

“I can confirm it has been found,” a spokesperson said, adding a statement would be issued on Monday.

Sala’s father Horacio spoke of his shock from his home in Progresso, Argentina, telling Cronica TV: “I can’t believe it. It’s a bad dream.”

Horacio was the only member of the Sala family to stay behind in Argentina as the others rushed to France to try to help with the search.

“I talk to them every day. But since I don’t have WhatsApp it’s expensive to call them or for them to call me. But anyway, they kept saying days were going by, and that there had been zero word on Emiliano, or on the plane,” he said.

Suspected debris from the plane washed up on the Normandy coastline in France last Wednesday.

Sala was travelling in the Piper PA-46 Malibu plane after transferring from French team Nantes in a 17-million euro ($19.3-million) move — a record deal for the Welsh team.

It vanished from radar around 20 kilometres north of Guernsey, with pilot Ibbotson the only other person aboard.


David Mearns, whose private company, Blue Water Recoveries, was hired by Sala’s family to search for the plane, said on Twitter that the wreckage was spotted early Sunday.

“There’s a substantial amount of wreckage on the seabed,” he wrote, adding: “This is about the best result we could have hoped for the families.”

Top footballers were among more than 4 500 contributors to a crowdfunding page that raised over 300 000 euros ($343 000) to look for the wreckage.

Speaking after Cardiff’s match against Bournemouth on Saturday, manager Neil Warnock said Sala would have been “really proud” of the team after they won 2-0 in their first home match since the plane vanished.

Programme notes, penned by owner Vincent Tan and the rest of the Bluebirds’ board, said events had shaken “Cardiff City to its very core” and that they were now playing for Sala and pilot Ibbotson.

There were a series of heartfelt tributes before kick-off, with Sala’s photograph appearing on the front cover of the matchday programme and the two captains laid floral tributes on the halfway line before what the club called a “silent reflection”.

Sala’s name, in the Argentina colours, was also spelled out behind one of the goals as supporters held cards aloft.

© Agence France-Presse

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Agency
External source
Advertising

‘Tenderpreneurs’ block the delivery of protective equipment to schools

Protests by local suppliers have delayed PPE delivery, which according to the DBE, is one of the reasons the reopening of schools has been pushed back until June 8

‘Soon he’ll be seen as threatening, not cute’: What it’s...

There is no separating George Floyd’s killing from the struggles black people have faced ever since the first slave ships landed on these shores

How schools could work during Covid

Ahead of their opening, the basic education department has given schools three models to consider to ensure physical distancing
Advertising

Press Releases

Mining company uses rich seam of technology to gear up for Covid-19

Itec Direct technology provides instant temperature screening of staff returniing to the workplace with no human contact

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday