Argentinian soccer player Emiliano Sala is still missing any trace. The 28-year-old was on his way to his new British club with a small plane – and probably already suspected the disaster.

“I’m up here on the plane, which looks like it’s going to break down, and I’m on my way to Cardiff,” said Emiliano Sala in his last voice message on WhatsApp. “If you don’t hear any news from me in an hour and a half: I don’t know if they’ll send anyone to look for me because they won’t find me anyway. Then you’ll know. Dad, I’m so scared. “

In fact, soon afterward there was much to suggest an accident across the English Channel. The Piper PA-46 Malibu single-engine small aircraft with the young Argentinian on board disappeared from the radar on the way from Nantes in Western France to Cardiff in Welsh.

Emiliano Sala (Imago / PanoramiC / A. Bibard)Football professional Emiliano Sala switched to the British club Cardiff City at the weekend

Sala had only signed a contract on Saturday to switch from French club FC Nantes to Premier League club Cardiff. The transfer fee should have been 17 million euros. The striker picked up his belongings at the Nantes training center on Monday before heading to the UK. The propeller plane was last located near the British Channel Island of Guernsey.

“No trace” from the plane

The player’s father, Horacio Sala, confirmed to the renowned Argentine newspaper “Clarín” the authenticity of the approximately one-minute recording Sala sent to soccer players friends. Engine noise can be heard in the background. Despite his obvious concern, the footballer does not look panicked, but rather tired. Sala yawns several times. He probably had a long day in Nantes behind him: “I am totally broken. I was in Nantes and did some things – it just didn’t want to stop. Tomorrow it starts, I will train with the new team. Let’s see how it works running.”

Airplane with Emiliano Sala lost on board (Reuters / S. Mahe)Fans of FC Nantes, which Sala has just left, gathered after the plane disappeared

Instead, rescue workers soon searched the surface of the sea for debris with two boats and five planes. “There is no trace of the plane,” the Guernsey police said Tuesday afternoon after roughly 2500 square kilometers had been combed through the English Channel. According to her, the pilot was on board next to Sala. The broadcaster France Info, however, reported two passengers, in addition to the pilot.

The police estimate the chances of survival as low. In the evening, the search was interrupted because of darkness and has continued since this Wednesday morning. The rescuers are concentrating on the fact that Sala and his pilot could have saved themselves in a raft that was on board the missing small plane. Other scenarios are that the plane may have gone ashore, that the two men may have been picked up by a ship, or that the plane might have crashed into the water on impact, the police said in a Twitter message. “Our search area focuses on the liferaft option.”


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