Monday 18 March, 2019

Argentina ambassador asks UK government to restart Sala search

Emiliano Sala.

Emiliano Sala.

Argentina's ambassador to the United Kingdom has requested that the British government resume the search for missing Cardiff City player Emiliano Sala as the striker's family prepare a private effort of their own.

Guernsey Police on Thursday ceased looking for Sala, who was on board a Piper Malibu aircraft with pilot David Ibbotson when the plane went missing en route to Cardiff from Nantes on Monday.

Striker Sala completed a move to Cardiff City the weekend before and had been back in France bidding farewell to his colleagues at Nantes.

Search and rescue efforts had spanned three days without a trace of the plane before the authorities opted to call a halt to their scanning of the area.

But Sala's sister has led a campaign to recommence the operation, and an official request from Argentina's ambassador to the UK has asked for the help of the British government in restarting the search, while the family's own private effort begins to take shape.

"Tomorrow [Saturday], Emiliano's mother and some friends are arriving in London," ambassador Carlos Sersale told TyC Sports.

"The Argentine consulate is accompanying Sala's sister at all times. There is not much time. We must act urgently.

"We formally ask the British government to continue Emiliano's search. The search doesn't depend on us, but we are aware that it must be as fast as possible.

"There are legal bases to continue with the search. The Argentinian embassy in Cardiff is setting up a fund with financial contributions from clubs to conduct a private search."

On Friday Cardiff staff paid tribute to Sala at the stadium and chief executive Ken Choo also spoke optimistically about the search resuming.

"It has been a tough couple of days and we still hope the search mission can continue and we can locate Emiliano," he said.

"After the news the search has been called off yesterday [Thursday], I think it's right for the staff and all of us to lay some flower and make some prayers for his safe return.

"The mood is really sombre. I was at the training ground today as well as yesterday and the day before. It's pretty flat and there is not much activity. Everybody keeps watching the news and praying and hoping for the best.

"We are taking this day by day because it’s not something we can plan. We just have to go with what the family wants to do next and hold their hand every step of the way.

"If they wish to make a trip to Guernsey or wherever they wish, then we will facilitate that. We have given them a plan on where we see things going and we have invited them to the Arsenal game which they will be at privately.

"We have extended the invitation to our next home game. They are as much our family as they are his."

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