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Sala plane crash: Search suspended

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RESCUE workers have suspended search for the missing plane carrying footballer, Emiliano Sala having found “no trace” of the aircraft, police said.

Sala and his pilot, David Ibbotson have been missing since their plane disappeared from radar over the English Channel on Monday night.

Search efforts continued on Wednesday after an audio recording apparently sent by Sala from the aircraft was shared on Argentinian media.

The footballer can be heard saying he is “scared” and aboard a plane that “seems like it is falling to pieces”.

Rough sea conditions are reducing the likelihood of survivors being found, one rescue leader said.

John Fitzgerald, chief officer of Channel Islands Air Search, said: “I can’t see how anybody could survive in such temperatures for that length of time.

“Looking at the sea conditions today it’s very rough out there, there’s a good strong wind blowing, with sea conditions (that) are pretty horrendous.”

Humberside Police confirmed on Wednesday evening that Mr Ibbotson, from Crowle, near Scunthorpe, was the pilot of the plane.

A force spokesman said: “We can confirm that North Lincolnshire man, David Ibbotson is believed to be the pilot of the light aircraft that went missing near Guernsey on Monday 21 January.

“Specially trained officers are supporting Mr Ibbotson’s family who have asked for privacy at this difficult time.”

Mr Ibbotson was associated with skydiving company, Target Skysports, based in Hibaldstow, North Lincolnshire.

Guernsey Police said rescue workers had launched three planes and one helicopter in a bid to find the missing plane.

The aircraft scanned 280 sq miles of a target area after reviewing tidal and weather information, while coastal areas around Alderney and off-lying rocks and islands were also searched.

But on Wednesday evening, police said: “After an intensive search using multiple aircraft and one lifeboat over the last nine hours, we have found no trace of the missing plane.

“With the light now fading, the search will shortly be suspended for the night. A decision about whether to recommence will be taken early tomorrow morning

Police said rescue workers were prioritising the possibility that the plane landed on water and its life raft was used.

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