Players support privately funded search for Sala

Emiliano Sala's mother Mercedes and sister Romina

The search for the missing footballer Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson has resumed thanks to a crowdfunding appeal.

The Piper PA-46 Malibu plane which was carrying Cardiff City's signing along with pilot David Ibbotson disappeared from radar over the English Channel on Monday.

Sala signed for Cardiff City for £15m and he was travelling to Wales from his former club Nantes.

Following three days of searching land and sea around the islands of Guernsey and Alderney, the official search was called off on Thursday. 

Three planes and five helicopters racked up 80 hours combined flying time looking for the aircraft, the aerial search was supported by two lifeboats and passing ships.

Guernsey's harbourmaster saying the chance of them being alive was "extremely remote".

However, footballers and fans have supported a GoFundMe appeal which passed its €300,000 (£259,000) target, providing funding for a private search, which is currently utilising two fishing boats.

High-profile donors to the private search include Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan, former West Ham midfielder Dimitri Payet, Leicester City winger Demarai Gray and PSG forward Kylian Mbappe.

A tribute to Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala is shown on the big screen during the FA Cup fourth round match at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea.
"In our thoughts" - A tribute to Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala shown on the big screen during the FA Cup fourth round match at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea.

A message from the Argentine’s family on the fundraising website, said the tragedy goes "far beyond football" and the money would be used "exclusively for research".

David Mearns, who is leading the new search said: "This is a family that has come from Argentina with this huge shock out of nowhere and is struggling with very, very few answers about an unexplained loss.”

"They're looking at this as a missing person, a missing plane and until they are satisfied, that's the mode that we are in."

"Today, even as an expert my frame of thinking is alongside with the family's.

"That's what I'm trying to do. But we're trying to give them the best advice that we possibly can. You have to appreciate they don't know the environment, they don't know the geography."

Mr Mearns added that the search would entail "more investigative technical searches underwater" at some point.

Emiliano Sala - Go Fund Me page

To contribute and support the search, visit the Go Fund Me page: click here.