Emiliano Sala's father speaks out after missing Cardiff City footballer's plane found

  • Rob Swan

The plane carrying missing Cardiff City footballer and pilot David Ibbotson was finally located on Sunday, nearly two weeks after it disappeared.

A search boat located the wreckage on the seabed of the English Channel on Sunday morning, with an announcement following in the evening.

A further statement is expected to be made on Monday morning, with the families of both men having been informed by authorities of the latest developments.

Sala and Ibbotson are missing and presumed to have died in the incident.

The Piper Malibu aircraft they were travelling in, from the French city of Nantes to Cardiff, vanished from radars close to the Channel Islands on January 21.

Sala’s father, Horacio, became the first relative to give his reaction to the news, per Sky News.

In an emotional interview with Argentinian broadcaster Cronica TV, Mr Sala spoke of his anguish and disbelief that the plane had been found.

“I cannot believe it. This is a dream. A bad dream. I am desperate,” he told reporters.

“I communicated with them every day, but since I do not have WhatsApp it’s hard to call them or call me.

“They told me that the days passed and there was no news of Emiliano or the plane.”

Guernsey Police initially called off the search of the missing plane after just three days of searching.

However, two vessels resumed the search on Sunday following a successful online appeal to fund the effort, which raised £324,000.

The private search was led by shipwreck hunter David Mearns, who had identified an area of four square miles to scan.

Mr Means, the director of Blue Water Recoveries, told Sky News on Sunday night: “This is about the best result we could have hoped for the families.

“But tonight they have heard devastating news and in respect of the families I won’t comment any further about what has happened.”

Mearns also tweeted: “The families of Emiliano Sala and David Ibbotson have been notified by Police. The AAIB will be making a statement tomorrow. Tonight our sole thoughts are with the families and friends of Emiliano and David. #EmilianoSalas #NoDejenDeBuscarAEmilianoSala”.

Meanwhile, Sky News correspondent Tom Parmenter provided more details about how the missing plane was finally located.

“It was early in the morning at about 9am, the very early stages of the search that had got under way at first light this morning… that they saw something with the sonar equipment that they had on board,” he revealed.

“They carried out further passes over that area to pinpoint and have a closer look.

“They went through various stages of identification through the course of today, and David Mearns confirmed to me that they have now positively identified the wreckage as that of the plane that had been carrying the Argentinian footballer.”

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