Official search for Emiliano Sala is called off

Emiliano Sala

The search for missing footballer Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson has been called off after rescuers failed to find their plane following an extensive search.

Cardiff City FC made the following statement tonight on their website:

It is with a heavy heart that we report the latest development in the search for Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson.

Harbour Master Captain, David Barker, said: “Despite the best efforts of air and search assets from the Channel Islands, UK and France, which has covered an area of approximately 1,700sq. miles - with a significant amount of this searched more than once - and having examined mobile phone data and satellite imagery, we have been unable to find any trace of the aircraft, the pilot or the passenger." Full statement.

At this time of immeasurable sadness, our thoughts are with the family and friends of both men on board, the fans of both FC Nantes, Cardiff City, and their connections around the world.

Tan Sri Vincent Tan said: “Monday evening’s news shook everyone at Cardiff City FC to the core.

“We were looking forward to providing Emiliano with the next step in his life and career.

“Those who met Emiliano described a good-natured and humble young man who was eager to impress in the Premier League.

“The response from the football community has been truly touching and we place on record our sincere thanks to those who have sent messages of support.

“We also thank everyone involved with the search and rescue operation, and continue to pray for Emiliano, David Ibbotson and their families.”