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Cardiff City's Sala missing after plane disappears over English Channel

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Cardiff City's Sala missing after plane disappears over English Channel

By Richard Lough and Emmanuel Jarry

 

2019-01-22T190543Z_1_LYNXNPEF0L1UF_RTROPTP_4_SOCCER-SALA-CRASH.JPG

A fan holds a portrait of Emiliano Sala in Nantes' city center after news that newly-signed Cardiff City soccer player Emiliano Sala was missing after the light aircraft he was travelling in disappeared between France and England the previous evening, according to France's civil aviation authority, France, January 22, 2019. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

 

PARIS (Reuters) - Cardiff City's new soccer star, Emiliano Sala, was on board a light aircraft that disappeared en route to the Welsh capital for his club debut, France's civil aviation authority said on Tuesday.

 

Sala was flying from the French city of Nantes to Cardiff when the plane lost radar contact off the English Channel island of Guernsey late on Monday.

 

Rescue aircraft and boats had searched more than 1,000 square miles (2,590 square km) of sea for the single-engine Piper Malibu by midday on Tuesday, but "no trace of the missing aircraft had been found," Guernsey police said.

 

The 28-year-old Argentine-born forward joined struggling Cardiff City from FC Nantes last week for a club record fee of about 17 million euros (£15 million).

 

Argentine newspaper Clarin published a voice message that Sala apparently sent to friends.

 

"We're up in the plane and it seems it's about to crash," said the message, which Clarin said was verified by Sala's father, Horacio Sala.

 

"If you have not heard anything from me in an hour and a half, I don't know if they're going to send someone to find me, because, you know, they're not going to be able to," the message said. "Dad. I'm really scared."

 

Sala had played in France since 2012.

 

"We expected Emiliano to arrive last night into Cardiff and today was due to be his first day with the team," club Chief Executive Ken Choo said in a statement. "We continue to pray for positive news." Tuesday's training session was called off.

 

"The management and the whole club are staying hopeful and the whole FC Nantes family is praying for Emiliano Sala and the other passengers to be found safe and sound," Nantes said in a statement.

 

British authorities contacted airfields along the coast to check if the plane had made an unplanned landing, but there was no sign it had, Guernsey police said.

 

The plane had been cruising at 5,000 feet (1,525 m) when the pilot requested to descend to a lower altitude on passing Guernsey. It lost radar contact at 2,300 feet (700 m), the police said.

 

John Fitzgerald, chief executive of Channel Islands Air Search, said: "From what I gather, nothing has been seen as yet. If they are wearing the right dry suits or they got into a life raft, then the probability is not too bad.

 

"If they are in the water without any protection, the water is really too cold at the moment for any form of survival beyond an hour or so," Fitzgerald told Sky TV.

 

'IN DESPAIR'

Horacio Sala told Argentine TV channel C5N: "I didn’t know anything because I’m away from home, I’m a truck driver. A friend who saw it on TV told me. I'm in despair."

 

Julio Muller, the mayor of Progreso, the small town in the farming province of Santa Fe where Sala grew up, told Clarin online: "The town is in shock. The only thing we were talking about was his transfer."

 

Daniel Rivero, president of Sala's first club, San Martin de Progreso, told radio LT9 he was "hoping for some kind of a miracle."

 

Sala scored 12 goals for Nantes this season.

 

France's soccer federation postponed Nantes' French Cup last-32 game against Entente Sannois-Saint Gratien that had been scheduled for Wednesday.

 

Sala on Monday tweeted a photo of himself bidding farewell to his Nantes teammates, saying: "The last one. Ciao @FCNantes."

 

(Reporting by Richard Lough and Emmanuel Jarry; Additional reporting by Julie Carriat and Julien Pretot in Paris, Michael Holden in London and Walter Bianchi and Gabriel Burin in Buenos Aires; Writing by John Irish and Richard Lough; Editing by Robin Pomeroy and Peter Cooney)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-01-23
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12 minutes ago, webfact said:

"If you have not heard anything from me in an hour and a half, I don't know if they're going to send someone to find me, because, you know, they're not going to be able to," the message said. "Dad. I'm really scared."

How gut wrenching is that!!

 

It's impossible to comprehend being in a situation like this, and equally difficult to believe there will end up being a positive outcome. Tragic for all involved. 😢  

 

 

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"We're up in the plane and it seems it's about to crash,"

 

Having time and "comfort" to write a text indicates a controlled descent with the intention to ditch.

 

Which is not possible if being "flicked about" in a small, out of control, aeroplane.

 

And also time to prepare for "arrival" and subsequent procedures.

 

Not giving up yet.

 

 

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59 minutes ago, Enoon said:

We're up in the plane and it seems it's about to crash,"

 

Having time and "comfort" to write a text indicates a controlled descent with the intention to ditch.

That's not the correct message , he was sending a voice message on Whatsapp to his friends, just before takeoff. It was a long message in Spanish, he was relaxed in his voice but he did not like that small airplane because it was old and he had taken that same plane 3 days before , when he signed the contract in Cardiff. 

 

The correct translation has already been published in several newspapers. 

 

Anyway, why did the owner use a small Piper one engine aircraft to pick up his most expensive player ever?? £15 million ! 

What was the rush, and it was already dark outside, crossing the channel at night time is more demanding.   

 

Why not just use a commercial jet ? Very strange.  If I were him I would have refused to travel with that old aircraft.   R.I.P. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, balo said:

That's not the correct message , he was sending a voice message on Whatsapp to his friends, just before takeoff. It was a long message in Spanish, he was relaxed in his voice but he did not like that small airplane because it was old and he had taken that same plane 3 days before , when he signed the contract in Cardiff. 

 

The correct translation has already been published in several newspapers. 

 

Anyway, why did the owner use a small Piper one engine aircraft to pick up his most expensive player ever?? £15 million ! 

What was the rush, and it was already dark outside, crossing the channel at night time is more demanding.   

 

Why not just use a commercial jet ? Very strange.  If I were him I would have refused to travel with that old aircraft.   R.I.P. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This looks like it's going to be a terrible tragedy.

 

I also think the points you've made are looking very valid.

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3 hours ago, balo said:

Why not just use a commercial jet ? Very strange.  If I were him I would have refused to travel with that old aircraft.   R.I.P. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apparently the plane took several tries to take off. Seems mad that they were using it. 

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Reports a few hours ago on UK news say the club Cardiff City had nothing to do with the flight/aircraft, went on to say the Whats app voice msg said he had had a Non-stop time in Nantes constantly on the go over last day and was tired, he was worried that the aircraft is shaking so badly it could crash? then the message cut off

 

Radar lost the aircraft just near Aldenay, Channel Islands Harbour Master said the sea water at moment is very cold, if they were in the water then by now chances of survival is near zero, however if in a life raft there is still a chance... seas in the area were reported as rough last night -

 

Four nations France/UK/US and Argentina now involved in investigating whats happened (didnt hear nothing about the plane trying to make attempted take offs?)

Edited by Lokie
corection

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"The plane is understood to belong to Scottish football agent Willie McKay, who was involved in brokering the transfer." This according to The Sun.

 

The pilot has been named as Dave Ibbotson. 

 

Cardiff City offered Sala a commercial flight but he declined.   :sad:

 

 

Edited by balo

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More information coming out now that suggests it was extremely inadvisable to have even attempted that flight.  Very sad.

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6 minutes ago, carmine said:

More information coming out now that suggests it was extremely inadvisable to have even attempted that flight.  Very sad.

Amazing the bad decisions that get made.

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3 minutes ago, jellydog said:

Amazing the bad decisions that get made.

Quite.  And a listened to an aviation expert on the news saying that the length of journey, the type of aircraft, the weather, at night, made it all a very dangerous flight.  So why didn't they wait?  Was the pilot given advice?  

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Latest from AAIB:

Update 2: Wednesday 30 January

Since we opened our safety investigation on Tuesday 23 January, we have been gathering evidence such as flight, aircraft and personnel records, and have been analysing radar data and air traffic tapes. We have been working closely with other international authorities and have kept the families of those involved updated on our progress.

On the morning of Monday 28 January, we were advised by the Bureau d’Enquêtes & d’Analyses (BEA), the French safety investigation authority, that part of a seat cushion had been found on a beach near Surtainville on the Cotentin Peninsula. A second cushion was found in the same area later that day. From a preliminary examination we have concluded that it is likely that the cushions are from the missing aircraft.

From the moment we were notified of the missing aircraft, we have been looking at the feasibility of conducting an underwater seabed search for aircraft wreckage. Based on a detailed assessment of the flight path and last known radar position, we have now identified a priority search area of approximately four square nautical miles. Through the Ministry of Defence’s Salvage and Marine Operations (SALMO) Project Team, we have commissioned a specialist survey vessel to carry out an underwater survey of the seabed to try to locate and identify possible aircraft wreckage.

 

More:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/aaib-investigation-into-the-loss-of-aircraft-n264db

Edited by evadgib

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There is an extensive thread on the pilots forum concerning this accident.

https://www.pprune.org/accidents-close-calls/617514-cardiff-city-footballer-feared-missing-after-aircraft-disappeared-near-channel-island-44.html

 

As with most of these cases, it appears to be a combination of factors that resulted in the crash. Aircraft type / under qualified pilot / icy weather / night flight / over water / need to get back to Cardiff so as not to miss 1st day of training at new club.

 

Seemingly the family of the well known football agents, Willie McKay / Mark McKay, had a hand in arranging for the doomed flight. Having grabbed a share of the Stg2.5m agent fees, they seem to have offered this flight as a 'favour' to Sala. But, rather than arranging for a suitable plane similar to that of his initial flight to Cardiff for the contract signing (an Eclipse twin engined jet, presumably setup by the clubs), they seem to have penny pinched with a murky arrangement for a single engine piston job that was over 30 years old.  

 

Hopefully, all aspects of this sad event will be fully investigated and lessons learned.

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