Emiliano Sala: Police focusing search on life raft scenario

Search and rescue operations for the plane — a single turbine Piper Malibu which disappeared from radar near the Channel Islands just before 8:30 p.m. local time (3:30 p.m. ET) Monday — resumed Wednesday.

At 9.30 a.m local time (4.30 a.m. ET) Wednesday, Guernsey police said on Twitter that the search was being carried out based on four possibilities: that the pilot landed elsewhere but had not made contact, that they have been picked up by a passing ship, the life raft option or the aircraft broke up on contact with the water.

“Our search area is prioritized on the life raft option,” said the tweet.

Their most recent update, posted at 11.30 a.m (6.30 a.m. ET), said there were three planes and one helicopter involved in the search.

“We are also reviewing satellite imagery and mobile phone data to see if they can be of any assistance in the search,” said the tweet.

“So far today nothing spotted can be attributed to the missing plane.”

On Wednesday, it was confirmed that France’s Marine National was assisting the Guernsey coastguard with the search using a marine surveillance plane.

Earlier in the day, Guernsey police had said the search would take place around a targeted area they believed, based on review of the tides and weather since the aircraft went missing, had the “highest likelihood of finding anything.”

Flowers and candles have been placed in Nantes' main square as search for Emiliano Sala continues

Cardiff City’s record signing

Sala, 28, was traveling from Nantes to Cardiff after having said farewell to his former teammates in France following his reported £15 million ($19.3 million) move to the English Premier League club.

The plane requested descent on passing Guernsey but lost contact with air traffic control while it was flying at 2,300 feet.

When the searched was called off for the evening on Tuesday, authorities had warned that they did not expect to find any survivors.

Guernsey police said on Twitter that they had found “no signs” of those on board, adding: “If they did land on water, the chances of survival are at this stage, unfortunately, slim.”

Capt. David Barker, harbormaster for the state of Guernsey, told reporters Tuesday there had been no distress call, saying “it was simply lost from radar and from communications.”

Nantes supporters gather in Nantes after it was announced that  Emiliano Sala was missing.

‘I was in shock’

The father of Sala, Horacio, said he was in shock as he waited for news about his missing son.

Speaking to CNN en Espanyol Tuesday, Sala’s father said no official had been in touch with him.

“No one has called me, not one has contacted us,” he said, revealing that the last time he had spoken to his son was Sunday.

“He was fine, he was happy for his next step … going forwards … a bigger club and he could play [in the] Premiership. He was very pleased,” he said. “We can’t explain this.”

Welsh club Cardiff City said Tuesday it would “continue to pray for positive news.”

A stellar season

Sala had scored 12 goals for Nantes this season.

Sala, who agreed a three-year deal with the Welsh club Saturday, had scored 12 league goals for Nantes this season.

The Argentine would have likely been available to make his debut for Cardiff, which is in the relegation zone having struggled to score goals during its return to the English top flight, in next week’s Premier League match at Arsenal.

Born in Santa Fe, Argentina, Sala established his reputation in France, scoring 42 goals for Nantes since joining from Bordeaux in 2015 and particularly impressing this season.

In his most recent tweet Monday, just before he was due to fly, Sala posted a photo of himself with the Nantes FC team and the caption: “the last one, goodbye.”

France’s Football Federation confirmed on its website it had postponed Nantes’ French Cup game against Entente scheduled for Wednesday.

In a statement on the French club’s website Tuesday, Nantes chairman Waldemar Kita said: “My thoughts are with his friends, his family. I still have hope, he is a fighter.

“It is not over, he might still be somewhere. Waiting for news we hope to be positive, we are very touched by all the support we have received since this morning.”

PSG and France forward Kylian Mbappe, World Cup-winning midfielder Andres Iniesta and Monaco manager Thierry Henry were among the current and former footballers to post messages of support on social media.

Source CNN

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