THE family of Emiliano Sala have today revealed their agony at still not knowing just why the doomed plane crashed one year on.
Argentinian striker Sala was 28-years-old when the plane he was on plunged into the English Channel one year ago today – killing him and pilot David Ibbotson.
Sala had just signed for Cardiff City from the French club Nantes for £15m – and was flying to the UK at the time of the crash.
It was only after an extensive search that the plane was found in 63m of water with Sala’s body inside.
Tragically, pilot Mr Ibbotson’s body has never been found.
An initial inquest found Sala had died from head and torso injuries however an Air Accident Investigations Board found he was probably exposed to “potentially fatal” levels of carbon monoxide.
Speaking today, Sala’s mum Mercedes and younger brother Dario described their devastation at losing the promising athlete, and how they were still struggling with not knowing how he died.
Mercedes told the BBC: “I am practically dead while living. It’s been a terrible, terrible year. I loved him so much. I would tell him every day.”
Speaking from her home in Progreso, Argentina, she added: “It seems as if it was yesterday, and it’s already been one year. The pain is intact and it will never go away.
“I can’t say I found peace, unfortunately. I’m still fighting.”
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The plane journey in January last year had ended in tragedy soon after Sala messaged his dad from the plane, saying he feared they wouldn’t make it across the Channel.
He wrote: “It looks like it’s going to fall apart . . . Dad, I’m really scared.”
Today, one year on, Cardiff released a statement on behalf of the board which read: “All of our thoughts are with the family and friends of Emiliano Sala and (pilot) David Ibbotson.
“The pain they have been through over the last 12 months must be indescribable.
“To mark the anniversary we are welcoming supporters to lay floral tributes at the Fred Keenor Statue throughout the day.”
Meanwhile, the Sala family decided to spend the day in “private, quiet contemplation”, according to their solicitor.
Lawyer Daniel Machover said: “The Sala family will mark the anniversary of the untimely death of Emiliano in private, quiet contemplation of their loss.
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“The family’s primary concern remains for the full inquest to take place as soon as possible, so that they can finally learn the truth about what happened and ensure that no family has to suffer a similar preventable loss of a loved one.
“Therefore, in the run-up to the pre-inquest review hearing on 16 March 2020, it is imperative that the coroner receives by 14 February 2020 (and then promptly shares with the family) the update required by the coroner from all investigating bodies – the police, CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) and AAIB (Air Accidents Investigation Branch)
“The CAA in particular must speed up its work.”
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