Ethan Hamm Staff Writer
28-year-old footballer Emiliano Sala was just signed to Cardiff City F.C.; however, upon his flight from France to Wales, the plane disappeared over the English Channel. Sala was subsequently reported missing the next day on Jan. 22.
The Argentine soccer forward was the sole passenger on the flight to acquaint with his new team after being with Nantes since 2015. After departing at 19:15 GMT from Nantes, France, pilot David Ibbotson requested permission at 20:23 to descend near Guernsey, an island in the English Channel. This was the final contact from the plane before going silent, then disappearing from radar. The aircraft has yet to be found.
The search lasted for three days, covering around 1,700 square miles of sea, but was quickly abandoned after no evidence came to light. Authorities concluded that any possibility of survivors was extremely unlikely, especially as time passed with freezing temperatures and stormy weather. Furthermore, the circumstances are difficult considering no distress signal was ever reported after leaving Alderney, another island in the English Channel.
Following the maritime and airborne search, Sala’s family pleaded them to continue looking for their beloved family member, but to no avail in this tragic case.
Fortunately, a GoFundMe page began on Jan. 26 for a private-based search in support of Emiliano’s family as well as recovering his body, whether alive or not. Thanks to the outspoken temperament of Sala’s sister, Romina, the GoFundMe has reached €300,000 (approx. $342,540 USD), with which they are sending two ships out to sea.
Other requests have occurred besides these large donations from big names in the community. For example, fellow Argentinean players Messi, Aguero, and Maradona urged that the search to locate Sala should continue. Moreover, the government of Argentina has formally sent in appeals that the British and French restart their search. A petition also supports this effort, with over 90k signatures. Cardiff City, on Jan. 29 and Feb. 2, will pay tribute at both games to Emiliano Sala, along with a moment of silence to commemorate the player’s journey—one unfortunately cut short in what became a thriving career.