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Sala: the player’s family and Argentina request the resumption of searches

Argentinian authorities and Emiliano Sala’s family have called for Friday to resume research after the death on Monday over the Channel of the plane that transported the 28-year-old footballer.

“President Mauricio Macri has ordered Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie to make a formal request to the governments of the United Kingdom and France to request the continuation of the research,” announces a statement from the Argentine Ministry.

The single-engine aircraft disappeared from the radar screens as it flew off the Anglo-Norman island of Guernsey in the English Channel. He was transporting the pilot David Ibbotson and the Italian-Argentinian player Emiliano Sala from Nantes, where he had previously played in Cardiff, Wales, the city of his new club, with which he had just signed up.

The attacker’s relatives also implored the rescuers to reconsider the decision taken Thursday afternoon to interrupt the search.

Dario Sala is convinced that his brother “is alive and waiting for us” and stressed that the family “did not lose hope”. “We will continue until the end, we will not stop looking, we will never stop,” said his sister, Romina Sala, at a press conference in Cardiff.

Their requests were relayed by several Argentine internationals, including Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, or Nicolas Otamendi.

A petition to this effect was launched online by FC Nantes and its supporters, gathering more than 71,000 signatures Friday at 20:00 GMT.

“Examine licenses” 

Investigators wondered Friday on the license held by the pilot. According to the British daily The Times, David Ibbotson was not allowed to carry paying passengers.

Originally from Crowle, in the north of England, Mr. Ibbotson had a British certificate allowing him to pilot a plane in a private capacity, says the register of the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA). The aircraft, a single-engine Piper PA-46-310P Malibu registered N264DB, was registered in the United States.

The British Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), interviewed by AFP, did not confirm the type of license held by David Ibbotson. But according to EU aviation rules, published online by the CAA, the holder of a private pilot’s license can not be paid for the carriage of passengers.

A spokesman for AAIB, the British Air Accident Investigation Bureau, which is investigating the plane’s disappearance, said the AAIB investigators would “examine the operational aspects of the flight, whose licenses “.

“Our goal is not to identify fault or responsibility, but to find the cause of an accident,” he said.

The player’s British agent, Mark McKay, said he found an aircraft available to take the footballer to Nantes on Saturday before heading back to Wales where he was scheduled to start training on Tuesday.

In a voice message to relatives, Emiliano Sala was worried about the state of the device. “I’m on the plane, it looks like it’s going to fall apart,” he said.

 “A charming guy” 

FC Nantes coach Vahid Halilhodzic also railed against stopping the search, which he said was “intolerable and unacceptable”. “For me, it’s a shame to stop like that,” he said Friday at a pre-match press conference.

The day before, Halilhodzic said about the 28-year-old sportsman “rarely saw someone so endearing, humble, modest, but on the ground, he was a warrior”.

Eric Bedouet, the coach of Bordeaux, his former club, described him “a good boy, really a charming guy”.

The player’s family asked the Nantes club not to organize a commemoration during the match against Entente Sannois Saint-Gratien in the 16th final of the Coupe de France.

“We ask you to be in solidarity with us, to be united, and to respect the family, which, it absolutely refuses to speak of mourning and (asks us) to continue to believe,” said the captain of Nantes Valentin Rongier to the supporters.

In England, a moment of meditation will be observed at the Premier League matches next week

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