THE LAST GOOD­BYE Poignant fi­nal photo as res­cuers lose hope for Cardiff City star Emil­iano

Midweek Sport - - NEWS -

IS HE ALIVE? Sala’s plane went miss­ing near Cas­quets light­house HOPES were last night fad­ing for Cardiff City foot­baller Emil­iano Sala, who was on a light air­craft that dis­ap­peared from radar in the English Chan­nel.

Air Traf­fic Con­trol said the air­craft was trav­el­ling from Nantes in western France to Cardiff when it went miss­ing near the Cas­quets light­house, eight miles north-west of the Chan­nel is­land of Alder­ney.

An of­fi­cial in­volved in the search has cast doubt on whether ei­ther of the two pas­sen­gers on the air­craft could have sur­vived a crash.

“Af­ter all this time the weather’s quite cold, the wa­ter is very cold out there... I am not ex­pect­ing any­one to be alive,” Chan­nel Is­lands Air Search chief of­fi­cer John Fitzger­ald said.

“I don’t think the coast­guard are ei­ther. We just don’t know how it dis­ap­peared.”

He said the plane “just com­pletely van­ished. There was no ra­dio con­ver­sa­tion”.

Con­cerns were raised when Sala, 28, failed to re­spond to mes­sages on so­cial me­dia af­ter re­ports he had been trav­el­ling to the UK on Mon­day, and the French Navy are help­ing TEAM HUG: How Sala said ‘Ciao’ to Nantes team­mates BIG DEAL: Sala with Cardiff CEO Ken Choo, a plane like the miss­ing one and a French Navy war­ship with the search.

The Ar­gen­tinian for­ward, who had played in France since 2012, was bought by Cardiff from Nantes for £18mil­lion on a three-and-a-half year deal at the week­end.

In one of his last so­cial me­dia posts, he shared a photo with his for­mer team­mates, writ­ing “Ciao” and adding heart emo­jis.

One of his for­mer team­mates had taken him to the air­port for his flight to the UK.

Cardiff City CEO Ken Choo said: “We were very shocked upon hear­ing the news that the plane had gone miss­ing.

“We ex­pected Emil­iano to ar­rive last night into Cardiff and to­day was due to be his first day with the team.

“Our owner, Tan Sri Vin­cent Tan, and chair­man, Mehmet Dal­man, are all very dis­tressed about the sit­u­a­tion.

“All of us at Cardiff City FC would like to thank our fans, and the en­tire foot­balling fam­ily, for their sup­port at this dif­fi­cult time.

“We con­tinue to pray for pos­i­tive news.”

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