Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan has offered his thoughts and prayers to the family of Emiliano Sala after the search and rescue operation to find the missing footballer was ended.
Sala, who last weekend completed a deal to move from Ligue 1 club Nantes and become Cardiff’s record signing, and pilot David Ibbotson were the two people on board a light aircraft that went missing en route to the Welsh capital on Monday.
Following an extensive operation covering approximately 1,700 square miles around the Channel Islands, a statement issued by Guernsey Police from harbour master Captain David Barker confirmed the active search had been abandoned after his team had been “unable to find any trace of the aircraft, the pilot or the passenger”.
The chances of survival are rated as “extremely remote” by police.
In a statement posted on Cardiff’s official website, Tan said: “Monday evening’s news shook everyone at Cardiff City FC to the core.
“We were looking forward to providing Emiliano with the next step in his life and career.
“Those who met Emiliano described a good-natured and humble young man who was eager to impress in the Premier League.
“The response from the football community has been truly touching and we place on record our sincere thanks to those who have sent messages of support.
“We also thank everyone involved with the search and rescue operation, and continue to pray for Emiliano, David Ibbotson and their families.”
At this time of immeasurable sadness, our thoughts are with the family and friends of both men on board, the fans of both @FCNantes, #CardiffCity, and their connections around the world.https://t.co/C47oWEhURw#CityAsOne
— Cardiff City FC (@CardiffCityFC) January 24, 2019
Barker acknowledged the Sala family were unhappy with the decision to stop the search and the 28-year-old’s father and sister have both urged more to be done.
“We are asking to please keep looking for him,” Horacio Sala told TyC Sports.
“We can’t believe that they are cancelling the search. I ask that [they] please continue the search.
“It can’t be that a plane disappears and there is no trace of anything.”
Speaking to ESPN, Sala’s sister Romina said: “I’m very confused. The only thing that I want is that my brother and the pilot be found.
“We ask them [the authorities] to put themselves in our place, in the hearts of the relatives.
“Please, don’t stop searching. I know that they are alive and they are waiting for us.”
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