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'Please don't stop': Emiliano Sala's sister appeal to police after search for missing plane called off

Police said that the chances of anyone on the missing aircraft having survived were “extremely remote”.

Updated Jan 24th 2019, 9:22 PM

Emiliano Sala missing plane Tributes placed outside Cardiff City Football Club Source: PA Wire/PA Images

THE SISTER OF missing Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala has appealed to police to continue the search after it was called off earlier today. 

Guernsey Police called off the search saying that the chances of him or the other occupant of the aircraft they were flying having survived is “extremely remote”. 

The plane carrying the Cardiff City striker and one other occupant disappeared while flying over the English Channel on Monday night and a search was commenced. 

The 28-year-old Argentine footballer had sent relatives a message shortly before taking off saying the plane looked like it was “going to fall apart”. 

In an emotional appeal this afternoon, Sala’s sister Romina said “please, don’t stop the search”. 

“I understand everything but if they are still alive please don’t stop this search,” she said. 

At the moment, the only thing we want, because there are two families desperate to have news about the whereabouts of those two people, so don’t stop the search for that. 

“Questions about how Emiliano got into the plane, what’s happened or whatever is a matter of another moment, not right now,” she said. 

It’s very difficult to express the feeling becaue the moment is really, really hard. 

In a statement tweeted by police this afternoon, Harbour Master Captain David Baker said that despite extensive searches the various teams had been unable to find any trace of the missing aircraft, the pilot or the passenger. 

Teams from the Channel Islands, UK and France had covered an area of about 1,700 square miles and had examined mobile phone data and satellite imagery all to no avail. 

“There has been over 24 hours of continuous searching, with 80 hours combined flying time across three planes and five helicopters,” the statement said. 

Two lifeboats have also been involved, as well as assistance from various passing ships and fishing boats. 

Baker said the search teams reviewed all of the information available to them and made the “difficult decision to end the search”.

The chances of survival at this stage are extremely remote.

Baker said that next of kin had been informed and that his “thoughts go out to the family of the pilot and passenger at this most difficult of times”. 

The final aircraft searching for the missing plane and the two onboard has now landed, police said. 

“Although we are no longer actively searching, the incident remains open and we will be broadcasting to all vessels and aircraft in the area to keep a look out for any trace of the aircraft. 

This will continue indefinitely. 

Guernsey Police said that unless there was some significant developments, no further updates would be given.

The search

Objects had been found in the water but police in Guernsey, which sits off the north coast of France, had warned that there was little chance of finding him and that the footballer was presumed dead.

A Channel Islands Air Search plane had today been conducting a search of Burhou, the Casquets, Alderney, the north coast of the Cherbourg Peninsula, the north coast of Jersey and back over Sark.

This followed what police described yesterday as “an intensive search using multiple aircraft and one lifeboat over the last nine hours”.

Earlier, police said that a ground search of Burhou had been completed but that the plane has not been found. 

“The island of Burhou has been searched by foot. No trace of the aircraft or those on board has been found,” Guernsey Police said in a tweet this afternoon.

Multiple aircraft, including from Britain and France, and lifeboats had been used in the search. 

Guernsey is not part of the UK but is a crown dependency, which means the UK is in charge of their defence.

Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch is probing the disappearance.

Meanwhile, tributes to Sala are being left at Cardiff City Football Club. The Argentinian striker had just signed a three-and-a-half-year contract two days before he went missing. 

Sala began his footballing career at French club Bordeaux, who he joined in 2010, and had loan spells at other French clubs including Orleans, Niort and Caen.

He joined Nantes in 2015 for €1 million and had scored 42 Ligue 1 goals in three and a half seasons at the Stade de la Beaujoire.

- With reporting by Rónán Duffy and Cormac Fitzgerald

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