Friday 22 November 2019

'The chances of survival are extremely remote' - Search for missing Cardiff City striker and pilot comes to an end

This file photo taken on November 25, 2017 shows Nantes' Argentinian Italian forward Emiliano Sala
This file photo taken on November 25, 2017 shows Nantes' Argentinian Italian forward Emiliano Sala

Authorities have ended the search for Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson, who have been missing since their plane disappeared from radar over the English Channel on Monday night.

Sala was on his way to join up with his new team after signing from French club Nantes when the accident occurred. After extensively searching on area of 1700 square miles, rescue workers have today brought the search to an end.

In a update posted on Twitter by Guernsey Police, harbour master Captain David Barker said the active search for the missing plane was over.

He said: "My team have just met to review the search and rescue operation which has been underway since the plane disappeared on Monday night.

"Despite the best efforts of air and search assets from the Channel Islands, UK and France, which has covered an area of approximately 1,700 square miles - with a significant amount of this searched more than once - and having examined mobile phone data and satellite imagery, we have been unable to find any trace of the aircraft, the pilot or the passenger.

"There has been over 24 hours of continuous searching, with 80 hours combined flying time across three planes and five helicopters.

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

"We reviewed all the information available to us, as well as knowing what emergency equipment was on board, and have taken the difficult decision to end the search.

"The chances of survival at this stage are extremely remote.

"Next of kin have been informed of this development, and my thoughts go out to the family of the pilot and passenger at this most difficult of times.

"This has been a very thorough and extensive search, co-ordinated from the Guernsey-based Joint Emergency Services Control Centre and has seen exemplary co-operation from all countries involved, for which I would like to extend my personal thanks.

"The final aircraft searching for the missing plane and those on board has now landed. 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."

A pilot involved in the search for the missing plane said there is "no chance" of finding survivors.

Mike Tidd, from Channel Islands Air Search, told ITV: "The area has been very well covered, there is absolutely no chance of finding anybody alive now, the only thing that we might be able to do would be to pinpoint where the aircraft went in, but I think the radar trace is going to be the best opportunity of doing that."

PA Media

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