Argentinian soccer player dies as private plane crashes into the English Channel

Adam Shefet, Sports Editor

Emiliano Sala, an Argentinian soccer player who recently transferred to the Welsh club Cardiff City F.C., was reported missing on Jan. 21. Sala was aboard a small private plane that disappeared over the English Channel.
After a relatively late rise to fame in his career, the 28 year-old impressed for F.C. Nantes in France’s top-flight soccer league. Through 19 games, Sala scored 12 goals and assisted 2 more which earned him a 17 million dollar transfer to Cardiff City. After the two clubs agreed terms, Cardiff sent a plane to pick up their new signing ahead of his first training session with the team.
Prior to taking off, Sala sent his family group chat an alarming voice message expressing his mixed emotions of excitement and fear.
“I am up here in the plane that seems like it is breaking apart. I am on my way to Cardiff because tomorrow we start, we begin training in my new team. We’ll see what happens… If you don’t hear news from me in an hour and a half, I don’t know if they are going to send someone to search for me because they will not find me, but now you know… Dude, I’m really scared,” said Sala.
Two days into the investigation, police suspended the search due to a lack of progress. No traces of the plane or passengers were to be found. When news of this surfaced, Sala’s sister posted an emotional video in which she pleaded with authorities to not end the search for her brother. Other players from around the world began donating tens of thousands of dollars to help fund a private search.
After the plane’s disappearance, Cardiff City won a game against A.F.C. Bournemouth in which their first goal celebration was holding up a shirt with Sala’s face in his honor. Banners were spread across the stadium which read, “We never saw you play and never saw you score, Emiliano our beautiful bluebird we will love you forever more”. His former club, Nantes, paused their game in the ninth minute, the same jersey number Sala wore, for a minute of applause.
Nearly two weeks passed before the wreckage was found. On Feb. 3, underwater photographs taken by a remotely operated vehicle, located the plane on a seabed off the shore of Guernsey, an island in the English Channel. Within that wreckage the UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch notified the public that a body was visible. Both Sala and the pilot are presumed dead.
On Feb. 6, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch of the U.K announced that Sala’s body was recovered from the plane, and he was confirmed dead. The pilot is yet to be found.
“It’s a really sad situation. He was a promising player that could of done really well at his new club. It’s unfortunate because if he had just taken a commercial flight this could have easily been avoided,” said Matthew Slade, junior.