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Emiliano Sala: Rescuers give up hope of finding missing footballer alive as experts claim the plane was downed by ice

Emiliano Sala: Rescuers give up hope of finding missing footballer alive as experts claim the plane was downed by iceRescuers searching for the £15 million Cardiff City footballer, Emiliano Sala, admitted they had given up hope last night, amid fears that his single engine aircraft had crashed into the English channel after the propeller became blocked with ice. The Argentinian born striker sent a message to relatives shortly before taking off expressing fears over the state of the 25-year-old aircraft, It has also emerged that the pilot, Dave Ibbotson, 60, had to abort three attempted takeoffs and had joked with friends that he was a "bit rusty" in the days before the doomed flight. The Piper PA-46 Malibu left Nantes airport in north west France at around 7.15pm on Monday evening and was on route to Cardiff, where Sala was looking forward to joining up with his new teammates. Just after an hour into the flight the pilot asked air traffic control to reduce altitude from 5,000 ft to 2,300 feet. But a short time later the Guernsey coastguard was alerted after the aircraft disappeared from radar screens. David Ibbotson was thought to be the pilot of the aircraft Aviation experts suggested the privately chartered single-engine aircraft should not have been risking the flight in the icy conditions. Alastair Rosenschein, a former pilot, said: "It's already a fairly risky crossing to do in a single engine aircraft, especially in winter and definitely at night. There are icing problems too. It's a strange thing to do though to go and fly over water with one engine at night in winter because if your engine goes you're going in the water". Mystery continued to surround who the owner of the £100 per hour aircraft was, with Cardiff City insisting Sala had rejected their offer of a commercial flight, in favour of sorting out his own arrangements. A source at the club said they had launched an investigation to find out why their record breaking signing had gambled with his life on the "risky" Channel crossing. Neil Warnock took his players on a sombre first training session since the tragedy on Wednesday. Players and staff were described by one source as feeling "absolutely terrible" and "in the dark" about the circumstances of Sala's flight arrangements. Sala, who had been in prolific goal scoring form for Nantes in recent months, had been a dream signing for the club. Willie McKay, a well-known agent, was reported to have played a part in negotiating the club's record-breaking deal, but he told The Telegraph he had nothing to do with Sala's flight. He told The Telegraph: "I have had family members ringing me about this and it's just not true. None of it." Fans have left scarves and flowers at the Cardiff City stadium  The aircraft, which was built in 1984, is registered in the United States rather than Britain through a company based in Norfolk. The firm, Southern Aircraft Consultancy, charges owners around £500 pounds per year to register their aircraft with the Federal Aviation Authority, which means it is harder for the owners to be identified. Three years ago the Piper aircraft, which can carry six passengers, was delivered to the UK from Spain by a British pilot called, David Henderson. Emiliano Sala timeline He told the BBC at the time of the dangers of flying single engine aircraft over water. He said: "One of the problems we can encounter is that ice can build up on the surfaces of the aircraft, on the propeller and on the wings and if is gets too great then ultimately the aeroplane would stop flying and the only way in most of the aeroplanes we fly of getting rid of ice is to descend into warmer air and the ice will dissipate." Missing light aircraft over the English Channel Guernsey Police said rescue workers had launched three aircraft and one helicopter in a bid to find the missing plane. The aircraft scanned 280 sq miles of a target area after reviewing tidal and weather information, while coastal areas around Alderney and off-lying rocks and islands were also examined. But the search was called off on Wednesday evening with local police saying they would take a decision whether to resume the search on Thursday morning. However experienced rescuers warned there was "no hope" of finding the missing pair. A tearful Horacio Sala, father of the footballer, speaks during an interview outside his home in Progreso, Argentina Credit: AP Photo/Mauricio Garin John Fitzgerald, Chief officer of Channel Islands Air Search, said "even the most fit person" would only last a few hours in the water. Mr Fitzgerald said: "Sadly, I really don't think, personally, there is any hope. At this time of year the conditions out there are pretty horrendous if you are actually in the water." Sala had taken flown in the aircraft from Cardiff to Nantes on Saturday evening after finalising his move to the Premier League club. He had wanted to say goodbye to friends and former colleagues at the French club before embarking on his new career at Cardiff. But he had told friends he was worried about the return flight because the outbound trip had been "bumpy". Mr Ibbotson, a highly experienced pilot, from the village of Crowle near Scunthorpe, had joked with friends on social media that he was a "a bit rusty with the ILS", thought to be a reference to the aircraft's Instrument Landing System. Shortly before take off, Sala also sent a WhatsApp voice message to family saying he was "so scared". Media in Argentina reported he said: "I'm on a plane that looks like it's going to fall apart."



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Israel has struck in Syria since Russia plane downed: Israeli official

Israel has struck in Syria since Russia plane downed: Israeli officialIsrael has carried out attacks in Syria since the accidental shooting down of a Russian surveillance plane last month, a senior Israeli official said on Monday. The Sept. 17 downing by Syrian anti-aircraft fire, after Israeli jets attacked a suspected Iranian arms shipment to Syria, caused a diplomatic rift between Israel and Russia, and Moscow blamed Israel for the incident.



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Israel-Russia ties tested after plane downed over Syria

Israel-Russia ties tested after plane downed over SyriaThe accidental downing of a Russian plane with 15 soldiers on board has tested relations between Moscow and Israel, which fears President Vladimir Putin will seek to curtail its actions in Syria as a result. Analysts say they believe Russia and Israel will eventually move past the incident without severely limiting Israel’s freedom of action in Syria, where it has carried out hundreds of strikes against Iranian and Hezbollah targets.



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Israel showed Russia proof Syria to blame for downed plane: Israeli military

Israel showed Russia proof Syria to blame for downed plane: Israeli militaryIsrael has provided Moscow with proof it bore no responsibility for bringing down a Russian plane in Syria, an Israeli military official said on Friday. Fifteen Russian crew were killed when an IL-20 surveillance plane crashed near Latakia in northern Syria on Monday. Russia has said Syria shot the plane down shortly after Israeli jets hit a target in the area.



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Israel says retains Syria freedom of action despite downed Russia plane

Israel says retains Syria freedom of action despite downed Russia planeIsrael’s coordination with Russia on its attacks in Syria remains unchanged despite the deadly downing of a Russian plane and the Jewish state retains its right to decide on military actions, an Israeli official said Friday. “There have been no changes to the deconfliction mechanism as a result of this unfortunate event,” the military official said on condition of anonymity, referring to Monday’s downing following Israeli air strikes. The arrangement was agreed by Israel and Russia in 2015, when Russian forces intervened alongside the regime in Syria to avoid clashes between their militaries inside Syrian territory.



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Missile that downed MH17 came from Russian military: investigators

Missile that downed MH17 came from Russian military: investigatorsInvestigators probing the 2014 downing of flight MH17 said Thursday for the first time that the missile which shot down the plane over eastern Ukraine travelled from a Russian military brigade. The Joint Investigation Team “has come to the conclusion that the BUK-TELAR that shot down MH17 came from 53rd Anti-aircraft Missile Brigade based in Kursk in Russia,” top Dutch investigator Wilbert Paulissen said.



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Putin order for bomb threat plane to be downed in 2014 canceled after false alarm

Putin order for bomb threat plane to be downed in 2014 canceled after false alarmRussia’s Vladimir Putin in 2014 ordered a passenger aircraft which was reported to be carrying a bomb and targeting the opening of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi to be downed, the president said in a film shown on Sunday. In a 2-hour documentary titled “Putin” and available on Russian social media, Putin told reporter Andrey Kondrashov he received a telephone call from security officers responsible for the Sochi Olympics on Feb. 7, 2014, shortly before the opening ceremony was due to start. “I was told: a plane en route from Ukraine to Istanbul was seized, captors demand landing in Sochi,” Putin said in the film seen by Reuters.



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Israel targets 'Iranian' positions in Syria after F16 downed

Israel targets 'Iranian' positions in Syria after F16 downedIsrael attacked what it said were Iranian positions inside Syria on Saturday in “large-scale” raids after one of its warplanes was targeted by Syrian air defences and crashed. Following the most serious confrontation between arch foes Israel and Iran since Syria’s civil war began in 2011, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to prevent Tehran from establishing a threatening military presence in the Arab state. Israel’s raids came after it intercepted what it said was an Iranian drone entering its airspace from Syria, calling it an “attack”.



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Russia threatens U.S. after Syrian warplane downed

Russia threatens U.S. after Syrian warplane downedRussia gave a warning to the U.S. after a Syrian warplane was downed by the U.S. military. The Russian Defense Ministry threatened it will treat U.S.-led coalition planes over Syria as targets.



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Iraqi helicopter downed in fight to retake Mosul

Iraqi helicopter downed in fight to retake MosulThe Islamic State group shot down an Iraqi helicopter operating over Mosul Thursday, as security forces announced they recaptured another neighbourhood in their nearly six-month-old offensive against the jihadist stronghold. The operation to retake west Mosul — which the helicopter was supporting when it was downed — has become a slow, grinding battle that has taken a heavy toll on civilians and pushed more than 200,000 to flee. “The helicopter was supporting federal police forces in (west Mosul) and was hit by fire and crashed in the Mohandiseen neighbourhood in east Mosul,” Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, the spokesman for Iraq’s Joint Operations Command, told AFP.



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