The private search to trace the plane which Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson were flying in is set to resume this week.
Cardiff City’s new signing and Mr Ibbotson were flying in a Piper PA-46 Malibu aircraft last Monday evening when the light aircraft disappeared from radar near the Channel Islands. No trace of them has since been found.
Rescue teams were officially stood down on Thursday afternoon, leaving Sala’s family distraught.
A remarkable crowdfunding campaign has seen more than €300,000 being pledged so far to finance a private search, which began on Saturday morning.
Sala’s family travelled to Guernsey on Sunday, where plans are being made on how to progress the second search. A spokesperson said they are treating this as a missing person case, and further details are expected on the private search today.
Elsewhere, Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock is due to meet the media this afternoon at the club’s first press conference since the news that shook the football world, ahead of the Bluebirds’ game against Arsenal tomorrow.
We’ll have live updates throughout the day.
What we know about the private search so far
A new, private search to find the missing plane began on Saturday, with confirmation of this coming from Maria José Sottini, friend of Romina Sala.
She said the online crowdfunding appeal on Friday afternoon had allowed Sala’s family to resume the search in the English Channel on Saturday morning – “via a specialised body”, with operations at that stage involving two boats.
Marine scientist David Mearns, who spoke on behalf of the Sala family on Sunday, is involved in coordinating this search.
He said the two boats enlisted on Saturday are two Guernsey fishing vessels “that have been visually scanning the area of the last radar contact for any clues to the plane’s whereabouts”.
After meeting Sala’s family in Guernsey on Sunday, Mr Mearns issued a statement to the press, where he said investigative, technical underwater searches are being considered.
He said the Sala family still have hope and are treating this as a missing person case.
“Until they’re satisfied, that’s the mode we’re in.”
“At some point in time in the future, we’ll be looking at more investigative, technical searches underwater, and that’s all I’ll say about that.”
Further details on how the search will progress are due to be released today.
- The official search to find the missing plane was stood down on Thursday. Those involved have spoken to us about what it was like being inside the desperate centre of unfolding tragedy, which you can read here .
- Sala’s family arrived in Guernsey yesterday where they met search coordinators. Marine scientist David Mearns, involved in the new search, said: “The family still have hope and they’re looking at this as a missing person, a missing plane, and until they’re satisfied, that’s the mode we’re in.”
- Whatever the outcome of this new search, families of both men are likely to have to wait a considerable time to get many of the answers they will want, as the official investigation report could take 12 months to complete. We’ve taken a look at the key questions and evidence so far.
- Text messages released at the weekend show Sala had been considering taking a commercial flight from France to Cardiff last week. You can read a transcript of those messages here .
- Elsewhere, Cardiff City may launch a legal claim, as payments to Nantes are being frozen for the time being as the club seek answers into the circumstances of Sala’s flight to south Wales.
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