2019 Piper PA-46 Malibu disappearance

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On 21 January 2019, a Piper PA-46 Malibu aircraft was reported missing off Alderney, Channel Islands. The aircraft had been travelling from Nantes Airport, France to Cardiff Airport, United Kingdom. Argentinian football player Emiliano Sala, who had recently been signed by Cardiff City from FC Nantes, was confirmed to be on board.[1]

Aircraft

The accident aircraft was a Piper PA-46 Malibu.[1]

Disappearance

The aircraft was on a flight from Nantes Atlantique Airport, Nantes, Loire-Atlantique, France to Cardiff Airport, Cardiff, Glamorgan United Kingdom. Two people were on board: the pilot and Argentinian football player Emiliano Sala,[1] who had just been bought by Cardiff City F.C. from FC Nantes for a club record fee in excess of £11,000,000.[2]

The aircraft had departed from Nantes at 19:15 GMT (20:15 CET in Cardiff). It was last in contact with Jersey air traffic control when a request was made to descend from 5,000 feet (1,500 m). The aircraft was at an altitude of 2,300 feet (700 m) when contact was lost.[1] The time was 20:30 GMT.[3] It was then 7.0 nautical miles (13 km) north west of Alderney, Channel Islands. A search and rescue operation was launched, but was suspended at 02:00 GMT on 22 January due to worsening weather conditions. Although outside the United Kingdom’s area of responsibility, HM Coastguard sent two helicopters to assist in the search for the aircraft.[1] A French helicopter was also sent to participate in the search, as were the Alderney and Guernsey Lifeboats.[4] The search resumed at 08:00 GMT.[1] As of 11:45 GMT a total of 1,000sq miles has been covered by a total of five aircraft and two lifeboats, however no trace of the aircraft has been found.[5]

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