Emiliano Sala's father 'speechless' as search for Cardiff City striker on missing plane continues

Horacio Sala is in Rosario in his homeland, where he has yet to be contacted with information

Tuesday 22 January 2019 12:33 GMT
Emiliano Sala search: Officials say they are ‘not expecting anyone to be alive’ with no trace of missing plane

The father of Argentinian footballer Emiliano Sala, Horacio, has described himself as "worried, desperate and... speechless" as he waits for news about his son.

The French civil aviation authority said Sala was aboard a light aircraft that disappeared from radar en route from Nantes to Cardiff on Monday evening. The 28-year-old Nantes striker had been announced as a new signing for Cardiff City on Saturday.

Speaking to Argentine radio and television from Rosario in his homeland, Sala described how he had only found out about the missing plane through a friend, and that nobody had been in contact with him or the family with any news.

"I don't know anything. I'm in Argentina," he said.

"I spoke to Emiliano on Sunday.

"Still nobody from Nantes has communicated with us, we are worried, desperate, this took us all by surprise.

"I don't have any information on the journey, the only thing I know is that it was a small plane.

"They are saying that the plane lost control in the channel. I don't know what could have happened. I am speechless."

Rescue teams were scrambled to waters north of Guernsey after the light aircraft carrying two people vanished , Guernsey Police said.

Searches of the area resumed on Tuesday morning, with authorities saying the missing plane carrying Emiliano Sala and another passenger had yet to be found.

Guernsey Police said the Piper PA-46 Malibu, a single turbine engine aircraft carrying two people, departed Nantes at 7.15pm for Cardiff and was flying at an altitude of 5,000ft.

On passing Guernsey it "requested descent", but Jersey air traffic control (ATC) lost contact with the plane while it was flying at 2,300ft.

Guernsey Coastguard received an alert at 8.23pm from Jersey ATC that a light aircraft had gone off their radar approximately 15 miles north of Guernsey.

Sala signed for Cardiff from French side Nantes on Saturday (AFP/Getty Images) (AFP)

A major search and rescue operation was triggered involving both St Peter Port and Alderney lifeboats and the Air Search 1 and two HM Coastguard helicopters.

An update from Guernsey Police said: "The search was terminated at 02:00, with all search and rescue assets being stood down, due to strengthening winds, worsening sea conditions and reducing visibility.

"At this time no trace of the missing aircraft had been found."

Air Search 1 and a French rescue helicopter based in Cherbourg resumed the search of the area at 8am on Tuesday. At 11:45 on Tuesday morning they released another statement revealing they had yet to find the plane:

Emiliano Sala agreed to join Cardiff in a club-record deal on Saturday (Cardiff City)

"So far over 1,000sq miles have been searched by a total of five aircraft and two lifeboats. It is being co-ordinated by the Joint Emergency Services Control Centre.

"There has been no trace of the aircraft.

"The search is continuing."

Additional reporting by agencies

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