Probe underway after Sala search abandoned

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The 'Piper PA-46 Malibu' aircraft flown by pilot Dave Ibbotson that carried Cardiff City's new club-record £15 million (R269m) signing 'vanished without trace' on Monday is believed to have crashed over the English Channel between England and France.

After four days of extensive search, in which three planes and five helicopters racked up 80 hours combined flying time looking for the plane, working alongside two lifeboats and other passing ships - the search was called off.

"We are looking at all operational aspects of the flight including licensing," Air Accident Investigation Branch spokesman said, as per The BBC.

Romina, the sister of Emiliano Sala pleaded with rescuers no to abandon the process; "Please, please, please don't stop the search. We understand the effort but please don't stop the search.

"I know in my heart Emiliano is still alive," she said. "For us, they are still alive. It is difficult to express our feelings at the moment because everything is really hard.

"Emiliano is a fighter. I'm asking you please, don't stop looking for them. It's been three days and I've still got hope that they're alive.

"It's terrible, it's desperate not knowing anything. We don't have certainty of anything."

Search officially called off:

Harbourmaster Capt David Barker said the chances of survival were "extremely remote", which led to the end of the search.

"We reviewed all the information available to us, as well as knowing what emergency equipment was on board, and have taken the difficult decision to end the search," he added.

"I understand Emiliano Sala's family are not content with the decision to stop the search and I fully understand that. I'm absolutely confident that we couldn't have done any more."

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