Ex-girlfriend of Sala says she hopes he is ‘alive on an island’

Model ex-girlfriend of footballer Emiliano Sala says she hopes he is ‘alive on an island’ and blames ‘series of irresponsibilities’ for plane crash as Cardiff fans pay tearful tributes to missing star

  • Berenice Schkair, 26, has said she ‘has to hope’ player is still alive somewhere
  • She said comments about ‘football mafia’ came from a ‘sense of something dark’
  • Sala’s family have privately raised funds for a continued search mission including a possible submarine search of 33 square miles of seabed 
  • Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibottson fell off radar over Guernsey last Monday 

The former girlfriend of missing footballer Emiliano Sala has said she is clinging to the hope he is alive on an island somewhere.

Victoria’s Secret model Berenice Schkair, 26, has said she ‘sensed something strange and dark’ about the disappearance of Sala, 28, and pilot David Ibbotson, 59, whose light aircraft fell off radar near Guernsey last Monday night.

The air and sea rescue – then recovery – search for the £15 million Cardiff signing and his pilot was called off by coastguards on Thursday, but an independent search continued over the weekend after Lionel Messi and other players funded a new mission.

An underwater search may also be on the cards after the Argentinian player’s mother and sister arrived in Guernsey with funds already raised for a private search of 33-square-miles of the English Channel seabed. 

Berenice Schkair, 26, has said she is clinging to the hope Sala is still alive on an island

Emiliano Sala’s plane disappeared at 8.30pm last Monday flying over the Channel Islands

Model Berenice Schkair, 26, has travelled to Guernsey with the missing player’s family

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Now Miss Schkair has told Argentine media outlet Infobae she believes he is still alive – and clarified her outburst after the disappearance in which she blamed the ‘football mafia’.

The 26-year-old said: ‘I have hope he is going to turn up, that’s he’s alive. Where? On an island. I feel, as does his family, that he cannot have disappeared.’

She said of her initial social media posts: ‘It was an impulse. I sensed there was something strange, dark. But I don’t have information about anything.

‘The only thing I felt was if a plane disappears off the face of the Earth, two people disappear and nobody wants to search for them and everything stays covered then it is something strange.’

She added: ‘I want to think it was an accident but then I feel that there was a series of irresponsibilities which brought about this horror.

Model, Berenice Schkair, is clinging to hope her ex-boyfriend may still be alive somewhere

‘The Last Goodbye’: Emiliano Sala posted this photograph on Instagram on Monday, bidding farewell to his old teammates at Nantes Football Club, after he signed a record £15 million contract with Cardiff City. It is believed to be the last photo of him

The aircraft left Nantes at 19.15 last Monday headed for Cardiff and was flying at 5,000 feet before it fell off the radar at 2,300ft during a descent cleared with Jersey air traffic controllers

‘The irresponsibility is a little bit on everyone’s part. Why was the pilot there if he didn’t have the correct licence?

‘Why did the plane take off anyway despite Emi saying it was bad? Why did they send a plane in bad condition?

‘Why did they take off in that weather? Why did the club not look after him if they had bought a player of that level?’

And when asked what she would do if Sala does not show up, she said: ‘Find the person responsible, they need to carry out an investigation and not leave everything covered up.

At all Premier League games played tonight a moment of remembrance took place for the missing player. At the Emirates, Arsenal and Cardiff players joined fans in commemoration

Tonight at the Emirates Cardiff players joined the crowd in a moment of silence to remember their missing would-be team-mate

Away fans held up yellow placards in commemoration of the former Nantes player tonight

Cardiff City fans have paid moving tribute to their signing despite never having seen him play

Sala’s name was included in the programme for the Arsenal clash against a yellow tulip, which fans have laid in memory of the player

Cardiff City Executive director and CEO Ken Choo thanked a young fan for his support

Outside Cardiff city’s home ground the flowers and tributes have continued to be laid

‘If something that terrible happens, the family are going to have to fully investigate and knock on a lot of doors.

‘But if Emi turns up the only thing that is going to matter to me is that he fulfils his dream and plays football again.’

The model’s claim comes after MailOnline revealed that the UK’s Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) will investigate whether the flight was legal, after it emerged pilot Dave Ibbotson held a private pilot’s licence but not a commercial one.

The father of four was also in debt and subject to four outstanding county court judgements at the time of the crash, The Sun reported.

Tonight at the Emirates Stadium in London Cardiff and Arsenal held a moment of reflection and laid floral tributes in what was the Bluebirds’ first match since Sala’s disappearance on January 21.

A moment of reflection was also held at the other five Premier League games taking place. 

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