More than $200,000 has been raised in a campaign to fund a private search for missing footballer Emiliano Sala and the pilot who was flying the plane carrying the player when they vanished over the English Channel.
Police announced they were calling off the search for Sala and pilot Dave Ibbotson on Thursday, after three days of efforts had found no trace of the Piper PA-46 Malibu plane they were using.
The authorities cited the chances of survival at that as stage as being “extremely remote.”
However, the News was followed by pleas from Sala’s family to continue efforts to find the 28-year-old Argentine forward – a message echoed by many players, including countryman Lionel Messi.
A GoFundMe page was set up by French sports agency Sport Cover on Friday, seeking to raise €300,000 (US$342,000) to cover the costs of a new search.
The page said it was motivated by “the urgency of the situation and the decision of the authorities not to pursue the search.”
As of Saturday afternoon, almost €200,000 (US$228,000) had been pledged toward the target, including from players such as Manchester City’s German international Ilkay Gundogan.
Sala disappeared on Monday night while flying back to the UK to join new club Cardiff City, for whom he had signed in a record £15 million deal last weekend. He had been in France to say goodbye to his teammates at Nantes.
The news of his disappearance and the subsequent ending of the search has led to a huge outpouring of sadness across the footballing world.
The main centers for fans to gather have been the stadiums of Cardiff and Nantes, where flowers, scarves and photos have been laid. Tributes were also held at games across the France and the UK on Friday and Saturday.
Argentinian President Mauricio Macri has even issued a formal plea to Britain and France through his country’s foreign ministry for the search to be resumed.
Officials in Guernsey, from where the efforts were being coordinated, have said they were “absolutely confident” they could not have done more with their efforts, the BBC reports.
Source : RT