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Emiliano Sala family ‘struggling’ as search resumes thanks to crowdfunding | World News

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The family of missing footballer Emiliano Sala are “struggling with the very few answers about what’s happened”, a spokesman said as the search resumed thanks to a crowdfunding appeal.

The 28-year-old Argentinian striker had been flying from France to Wales on Monday after transferring to Cardiff City for a club record fee earlier this month.

The Piper PA-46 Malibu plane disappeared from radar near the Channel Islands, with Sala and pilot David Ibbotson the only people on board.

The official hunt was called off on Thursday, with Guernsey Police saying the chances of survival after so long were “extremely remote”.

Sala family members including her sister (3rd from left) and mother at Guernsey airport
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Sala family members including his sister Romina (3rd from left) and mother at Guernsey airport

Sala’s family have refused to give up and his mother and sister were among relatives who flew to the island’s airport on Sunday.

The search resumed on Saturday after a GoFundMe appeal passed its €300,000 (£259,000) target.

Two fishing vessels, which had been assisting with the official search, returned to the English Channel.



Romina Sala believes her brother to be alive and wants the search to continue



‘Please don’t stop the search for Emiliano’

Marine scientist David Mearns, who is helping organise the new search, said on behalf of the family: “The family still has some hope and until we’re talking about a missing person, until they’re satisfied, that’s the mode that we’re in.

“They don’t know the environment, they don’t know the geography, this is a family that has come from Argentina with this huge shock out of nowhere and are struggling with very few answers about what’s happened about an unexplained loss.”

More than 4,000 people have donated to the page on the GoFundMe site including France forward Kylian Mbappe, former West Ham midfielder Dimitri Payet and Leicester City winger Demarai Gray.

The search has been launched after the fund passed €300,000
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The search has been launched after the fund passed €300,000

The initial aim was to raise €150,000 (£129,000), and after the total passed that figure, the target was changed to €300,000. On Sunday afternoon, more than €328,000 (£283,000) had been raised.

Sala’s family criticised the decision to abandon the search, along with Argentina’s president Mauricio Macri, who told his foreign minister to issue formal requests to Britain and France for search efforts to be resumed.

Argentinian footballers past and present, including Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona and Sergio Aguero, echoed those calls.

Flowers laid outside the stadium in Cardiff
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Flowers laid outside the stadium in Cardiff
FC Nantes supporters have been leaving flowers outside the club
Image:
FC Nantes supporters have been leaving flowers outside the club

Sala had been in Nantes saying farewell to his former club teammates and was making his way back to the Welsh capital.

On Friday, text messages shared between Sala and the son of agent Willie McKay discussing flight arrangements were revealed.

McKay said that although he arranged the flight for Sala through a company he had used many times, he did not own the plane, select the aircraft or the pilot.

Cardiff’s staff and supporters will wear yellow daffodils at Arsenal on Tuesday in respect of Sala and the club captains will place flowers at the ground.

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