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Emiliano Sala told his close friends he was ‘scared’ on ‘a plane that seems like it is falling to pieces’ in a voice note sent from the light aircraft which disappeared over the Channel on Monday night.
In the recording the Argentine footballer sounds calm but exhausted, as he tells friends they may need to ‘send someone to find me’ over the low roar of the plane’s single propeller.
Sala and his pilot last made contact from their Piper FA-46 Malibu just off Alderney at 8.30pm on Monday. On Tuesday coastguard helicopters and lifeboats scoured 1,100 square miles of sea before halting the search at nightfall.
They found nothing but debris and Guernsey Police said the pair’s chances of survival if they ditched in the icy waters were ‘slim’. They warned they are not expecting to find survivors.
In the Whatsapp audio note, Sala said in Spanish: ‘Hey guys, how is it going? Brother, I am really tired now. I was over in Nantes sorting things out, doing this, doing that.
‘I am now aboard a plan that seems like it is falling to pieces. I’m going to Cardiff now, crazy, and tomorrow we get going. I will train with my new team tomorrow.’
In a separate note sent a little later, he said: ‘How are you guys, all good?
‘If you do not have any more news from in an hour and a half, I don’t know if they need to send someone to find me. I am getting scared!’
Earlier it emerged he told his former Nantes teammate he ‘feared for his safety’ before he took off on his doomed flight across the English Channel.
The Argentinian striker completed a £15 million move to Cardiff City on Saturday. He returned to bid farewell to his old squad at Ligue 1 side Nantes, posting a poignant photo in which his former teammates sport their club’s blue strip, and Sala is wearing a hoodie with the logo: ‘Be good, be nice.’
His Instagram post of the photo bore the caption: ‘The last goodbye’.
Sala was making a round trip in the same plane and when he arrived in France, he reportedly told ex-teammate Nicolas Pallois – who drove him back to Nantes-Atlantiqe airport – that the trip out ‘had been bumpy and he feared his safety for the journey back.’