What Happened To Emiliano Sala?THEORY 

Overview

Emiliano Sala was a Premier League footballer and his light plane went missing over the Channel Islands on the 22nd January 2019. Sala began his playing career at Argentine side Club Proyecto Crecer, before moving to French club Girondins Bordeaux in 2012. The wreckage of the plane that vanished with Emiliano Sala on board was found within hours of a search starting in the sea off the Channel Islands. A search boat hired privately by Sala’s Argentinian family – thanks partly to a crowdfunding appeal – located the wreckage on Sunday morning. There was no immediate official confirmation of what was found but the shipwreck specialist leading the private investigation, David Mearns, said the plane had been discovered.

There was no immediate official confirmation of what was found but the shipwreck specialist leading the private investigation, David Mearns, said the plane had been discovered.

He said it had been located by the privately hired vessel FPV Morven, which had passed the information on to the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB). Mearns said the AAIB had moved its vessel, the Geo Ocean III, to the spot and visually identified the wreckage with an ROV.

He said the family of Cardiff City striker Sala and the pilot, David Ibbotson, had been informed and the AAIB would be making a statement on Monday. It is believed it will be up to the AAIB to recover the vessel.

No information about whether any bodies were in the plane was given. Two seat covers from the aircraft washed up last week on the coast of France.

Mearns tweeted, “Wreckage of the plane carrying Emiliano Sala and piloted by David Ibbotson was located early this morning by the FPV MORVEN. As agreed with the AAIB they moved the GEO OCEAN III over the position we provided them to visually identify the plane by ROV.”

In a second tweet, he said, “The families of Emiliano Sala and David Ibbotson have been notified by Police. The AAIB will be making a statement tomorrow. Tonight our sole thoughts are with the families and friends of Emiliano and David.”

The Piper Malibu PA-46 carrying 28-year-old Sala and Ibbotson, 59, from Lincolnshire, disappeared over the Channel on 21 January after leaving Nantes in France at about 7.15pm for Cardiff.

Mearns and his team had been confident the plane would be found. The area of seabed that was being searched, north of Guernsey, was not very deep – about 65 metres – and was stony and bare because it had been dredged by scallop fishermen. Mearns has said the currents are strong and there are other wrecks there, which made it more tricky.

During the journey, the plane had requested to descend, but then it lost contact with Jersey air traffic control.

If the plane made a controlled water landing and he made it onto a life raft … there are many stories of people surviving months in a life raft. But none of those take place in English channel in the middle of winter.Apparently the waters in the channel were very choppy on the night of the disappearance.

It’s extremely difficult to land a small aircraft on calm waters in full daylight, let alone in turbulent seas in pitch black darkness. Even if they did land on the water, the plane would sink in under 15 minutes. They would have to be out and on the raft immediately. It’s painful to see his family and friends still believing he’s alive, but it’s an impossibility at this point.I’ve been so gripped by this and have been following discussions on pilots forums, and the picture painted is that this was a doomed flight and there’s no chance they could have survived given the circumstances. The only chance for survival is if they somehow ditched in Alderney, and we would know by now if this is what happened.

The plane went off radar in the channel, the best bet now would be to get a ship and divers and try to locate the wreckage. I believe they will find it at the sea bed with both pilot and passenger still strapped in. I hope they can recover them so people can have closure. Complete electrical failure would cause the aeroplane to ‘disappear’, but I assume the aircraft would have had an ELT (Emergency Location Transmitter) which also would have transmitted the aircraft’s location. These generally activate if moved heavily (a crash) and have separate batteries but there is nothing to say that this was also damaged, specially if hitting water hard.

Unfortunately when it’s a crash such as this, it does leave a lot of open questions.I’m actually from Guernsey in the Channel Islands and spent 10 years as an aircraft engineer here working on these types of aeroplane, and I can definitely tell you that the conditions for flight were not nice at all.

The users of Reddit sure do know a lot about the technicalities regarding E Emiliano’s disappearance and the inner workings of planes.

Sala's Decomposition

In cold water, the bacterial action that causes a body to bloat with gas may be so slowed that the body stays on the seabed. The skin will absorb water and peel away from the underlying tissues in about a week and fish, crabs and sea lice will nibble away at the flesh.

Cold water also encourages the formation of adipocere. This is a waxy, soapy substance formed from the fat in the body that partially protects the body against decomposition. Bodies have been retrieved almost completely intact from waters below 7°C after several weeks, and as recognisable skeletons after five years. This is why the body was ‘unidentifiable’

Emiliano Sala

Possibile Theories

  1. He was in debt to some mafioso types.
  2. Murdered by the Chinese because he rejected a Chinese team’s offer.

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Author

I'm Kate Pibernik and I love to write! I'm currently studying media and film looking to one day become a full-time media journalist that specializes in short-films and media production. I'm also co-author of an upcoming book.

About The Author

Kate Pibernik I'm Kate Pibernik and I love to write! I'm currently studying media and film looking to one day become a full-time media journalist that specializes in short-films and media production. I'm also co-author of an upcoming book.
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