Emiliano Sala search team working on theory Cardiff City ace ‘made it into life raft’

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RESCUE teams searching for Emiliano Sala believe there is a chance he could have made it to a life raft.

The new Cardiff City signing, 28, and his pilot are both feared dead after their small private plane disappeared over the English Channel on Monday.

 Cardiff City's new player feared getting on the plane which crashed over the Channel
Cardiff City’s new player feared getting on the plane which crashed over the Channel

Rescuers are facing a race against time as their search enters its second day – and have now revealed there is a number of possibilities they are investigating.

Guernsey Police tweeted this morning: “We are searching based on four possibilities.

“They have landed elsewhere but not made contact. They landed on water, have been picked up by a passing ship but not made contact.

“They landed on water and made it into the life raft we know was on board. The aircraft broke up on contact with the water, leaving them in the sea.

“Our search area is prioritised on the life raft option.”

Two planes took off this morning to search a “targeted area” where there is the “highest likelihood” of finding anything based on a review of tides and the weather.

Coastal areas around Alderney and off-lying rocks and islands will also be searched from the air, police said.

Loved ones and fans are anxiously awaiting news on the Argentinian star – with rescuers previously saying that their chances of finding survivors was “slim”.

‘I AM GETTING SCARED’

It has since emerged that  Sala told friends to “send someone” to find him in chilling voice messages minutes before his plane vanished.

He sent panicked WhatsApp voice messages to his pals as conditions rapidly worsened while he was in the air, Argentinian newspaper Ole reported.

He wrote: “Boys, I’m here on top of the plane that looks like it’s about to fall apart. And I’m going to Cardiff, crazy, tomorrow we already started. In the afternoon we started to train, boys, in my new team.”

Premier League ace Sala later sent another message saying: “If you do not have any more news from in an hour and a half, I don’t know if they need to send someone to find me… I am getting scared!”

It came as sources told The Sun that the Piper PA-46 Malibu plane, which was travelling from Nantes to Cardiff, only managed to take off after up to four attempts.

I don’t know if they need to send someone to find me… I am getting scared!

Emiliano Sala

Nantes pal Nicolas Pallois said Sala, Cardiff’s record signing at £15million, told him his trip there was “bumpy and he feared for his safety” on the return to Wales.

The single turbine-engined Piper PA-46 Malibu had been flying at 5,000ft but Jersey air traffic controllers said it requested to descend and was at 2,300ft when it vanished at 8.30pm near Alderney.

An aeronautical expert has now claimed the flight should never have left the runway.

Commander Jorge Polanco told Argentinian network TyC Sports: “The Piper Malibu is an excellent single-engine aircraft , which has the capacity for seven people, but I am very surprised that they have been doing this operation flying at night, with what is the European winter at the moment.”

He added: “It’s like flying in Antarctica in the winter with an airplane of that size, which can suffer from what is called icing, thus stopping the engine and I think something related to that has happened.”

Last night, as emergency services suspended their search, there were unconfirmed reports orange seating material had been found.

Cardiff supporters left tributes at the ground and chief executive Ken Choo said: “We would like to thank our fans, and the entire footballing family, for their support at this difficult time. We pray for positive news.”

Nantes boss Waldemar Kita said Sala was “polite, kind and loved by everyone”.

Speaking in Rosario, Argentina, Sala’s mum Mercedes said: “The plane is from the president of Cardiff. They informed us the plane had disappeared and they were looking for it.”

Her trucker husband Horatio added: “We are desperate.”

Sala, believed to have turned down a mega-money offer to play in China, had said on Saturday: “I can’t wait to meet my new teammates and get down to work.”

Cardiff cancelled their training session yesterday while Nantes postponed their next match from today until the weekend.

 The aircraft only managed to take off after four attempts

AP:Associated Press

The aircraft only managed to take off after four attempts
 The plane went missing eight miles north-west of Alderney
The plane went missing eight miles north-west of Alderney
 Cardiff City's CEO Ken Choo says that they are praying for positive news

Getty – Contributor

Cardiff City’s CEO Ken Choo says that they are praying for positive news
 Emiliano Sala only signed for Cardiff City on Saturday
Emiliano Sala only signed for Cardiff City on Saturday
 Emergency services are searching the coast around the Channel Islands

Getty – Contributor

Emergency services are searching the coast around the Channel Islands
 Sala poses for a photo with his Argentine family
Sala poses for a photo with his Argentine family
 Ken Choo thanked fans for their support during this difficult time
Ken Choo thanked fans for their support during this difficult time
 A British coastguard rescue helicopter and crews from Alderney and Guernsey RNLI have joined the search

ITV NEWS

A British coastguard rescue helicopter and crews from Alderney and Guernsey RNLI have joined the search
 Sala alongside his mother Mercedes
Sala alongside his mother Mercedes
 Members of the RNLI search for the missing plane today

RNLI/Declan Gaudion

Members of the RNLI search for the missing plane today
 Lifeboats search for any trace of the aircraft

ITV NEWS

Lifeboats search for any trace of the aircraft
 Floral tributes have been left at Cardiff City's stadium as fans wait for news

Wales News Service

Floral tributes have been left at Cardiff City’s stadium as fans wait for news
 Sala was on board the small Piper Malibu plane when it went missing

Alamy

Sala was on board the small Piper Malibu plane when it went missing
Floral tributes left by fans in Nantes for missing former striker Emiliano Sala

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