Police in Guernsey announced earlier today they are no longer searching for Sala as the “chances of survival are extremely remote”. But this decision left devastated the family of the footballer, with his sister Romina asking officials to “please please please” continue searching for her brother. Harbour master Captain David Barker said: “I have taken the decision to terminate our search and that decision has been difficult, as you can imagine, not least because there are a huge number of people both here in the UK and in France who have been involved in the search over the last three days all of whom including myself had hoped for a positive outcome.
“But that’s not been the case.
“But more importantly, because I’m well aware that this will be very unwelcome news for the family and friends of the two occupants of the missing aircraft.
“I understand that Emiliano Sala’s family are not content with the decision to stop the search and I fully understand that.”
Captain Barker added the decision had been taken following the protocols used by the UK Coastguard.
He said: “I’m absolutely confident that we could not have done any more.”
Emiliano’s sister is pleading officials to continue the search, as she knows “down in her heart” Emiliano is still alive.
Speaking in Spanish to Sky News, she said: “Please please don’t stop the search, because we understand the fact, we understand everything and we really appreciate the effort, we thank the club and the people who have been looking for Emiliano, but please please please don’t stop the search.
“At the moment I am very confused, it is very difficult to express the feeling, the moment is really difficult.
“We are having a lot of support from the club, and I thank everyone for their efforts, but down in my heart I know that Emiliano, who is a fighter, is still alive, and Emiliano and the pilot are somewhere in the middle of the Channel and they are not going to give up.
“So please don’t give up the search – is terrible not to have certainty.”
The small aircraft taking Sala and pilot David Ibbotson from France to Cardiff disappeared from the radar on Monday, when it was flying near the Channel Islands.
The Jersey air traffic controllers lost contact with the pilot when the plane was flying at around 2,300 feet from the ground.
Previously it had been flying at 5,000 feet.
The search lasted for two days, during which officials didn’t find any trace of the aircraft.
Mr Barker explained how the decision to call off the search has been taken.
In a statement, 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 search, 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.”
Captain Barker added the search had involved 80 hours combined flying time by three planes and five helicopters, with two lifeboats and other ships in the area also helping.
Published at Thu, 24 Jan 2019 16:09:00 +0000