Emiliano Sala's search to resume this weekend after Lionel Messi and footie stars raise £325K for private missionFebruary 1, 2019
An expert team will head into the Channel on Sunday – with a search boat currently moored in St Peter Port Harbour in Guernsey.
The boat, called the Morven, is equipped with the latest technology, including a multi-beam echosounder and side-scan sonar, which can detect anomalies on the seabed.
Heading the search team is world-renowned shipwreck hunter David Mearns.
Announcing the search, he tweeted: “We are repositioning the MORVEN to Guernsey early while there is a slight break in the Channel sea conditions, this will save at least 6 hours to be used for searching, which we hope to start on Sunday.
Sala, 28, disappeared with Brit pilot David Ibbotson on a short flight from Nantes to Cardiff on January 22.
The Malibu-Piper plane had taken off at around 7.30pm the day before.
There is a slight break in the Channel sea conditions, this will save at least 6 hours to be used for searching, which we hope to start on Sunday.
Sala set to be unveiled as Cardiff City's club record signing the next day after completing a £15 million transfer from Ligue 1 outfit, Nantes.
The private search, which started last Sunday, for the Argentinian ace comes after authorities officially called off their own hunt last Thursday.
It was launched after a huge fundraising effort backed by Lionel Messi and a host of football stars.
A statement on the GoFundMe page read: "The call for funds launched late Friday afternoon allowed the relatives of Emiliano Sala, via a specialised organisation, to resume research in the Channel early Saturday morning. Two boats conduct the operations."
FOOTIE STARS PAY FOR SEARCH
Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan, Nantes manager Vahid Halilhodzic, Leicester City winger Demarai Gray and Bayern Munich's Corentin Tolisso have all contributed to the donation page.
It was set up by Sala's French football agency, Sport Cover, while a petition launched in France has gathered more than 80,000 signatures.
Argentine president Mauricio Macri also told his foreign minister to issue formal requests to Britain and France for search efforts to be resumed, according to a statement from the premier's office on Friday.
Three planes and five helicopters racked up 80 hours combined flying time looking for the plane, working alongside two lifeboats and other passing ships.
Guernsey's harbour master explained a "difficult" decision was made to call off the mission, saying the chances of survival were "extremely remote".
Sala’s sister Romina made a heartfelt plea for the search to start up again as she broke down in tears outside Cardiff City’s stadium.
She said: "We really are thankful for the support of all the players in the way they have said that we should not stop our efforts.
"We will find a way to restart the search. We will find Emiliano and the pilot.
"He is a fighter and we feel he is still out there.
"He has been travelling from the age of 16.
"We know he is somewhere – we want to bring him back.
"We've been in touch with people who are investigating. We are trying to best to find Emiliano because we are sure he is still here.
"We are very humbled by the way people are helping."
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