Guernsey Police say chances of finding Cardiff City striker, Emiliano Sala, and pilot, David Ibbotson, alive are “extremely remote.”
At a time when Cardiff City FC fans should be celebrating their new record signing, they have instead been left heartbroken. This follows news that the search for Emiliano Sala and pilot, David Ibbotson, has been called off.
In a statement, Guernsey Police said that after an extensive search of over 1700 square miles of sea, it is highly unlikely the pair have survived and their next of kin have been informed.
Sala has been missing since Monday evening when his privately-chartered flight from Nantes to Cardiff lost contact whilst flying over the English Channel. Despite 80 hours of combined aerial search-time and the efforts of rescue boats, there has been no sign of the plane or either passenger.
Outside Cardiff City Stadium fans have anxiously been waiting for news on Sala. The Argentine striker netted 41 times in three seasons for the French side Nantes, and was in the top five goal scorers in the French premier league last season. Cardiff fans were hoping he could continue this success to help save the club from relegation.
David Hunt, 59, has been a Cardiff season ticket holder since 1999 and has been devastated by the news. He said, “I’d written a letter in French for him – welcoming him to Cardiff City. When I heard the news I burst into tears. I’ve been sick all week.”
Tributes have been flooding in from across the world and football community. Phillip John Henry is a Cardiff-based Manchester City fan who felt the need to lay flowers outside the Cardiff City Stadium.
“It’s absolutely tragic. When I saw his father on the TV it broke my heart. I had to go to the stadium today to pay my respects.”
Lifelong Cardiff City fan, Anthony Covington, 31, said, “We were all looking forward to him playing against Arsenal on Tuesday. You don’t expect a professional footballer to lose his life.
“But Leicester City had tragedy before Christmas and it made them stronger and this will make us stronger.”
Cardiff City FC have not yet made a statement following the decision to call-off the search.