The worst was confirmed on Thursday afternoon as a body found in the English Channel was proven to be that of Emiliano Sala after the Piper PA-46 Malibu aircraft that was carrying him from Nantes to Cardiff was located.
A forensic team analysed the body before local police revealed that the body was, in fact, the player’s.
Behind the tragedy and the pain being felt right now, there are still some unanswered questions that will need to be addressed.
Why did Emiliano Sala take that flight?
Sala had signed for Cardiff and wanted to start training with his new team as soon as possible.
On January 21 he returned to Nantes to bid farewell to his former teammates and that afternoon he took off, but never reached Wales.
Jorge Polanco, an aeronautical consultant, said to Argentine media that crossing the English channel in that plane was crazy, “especially with a single-engine, at night and in bad weather”.
Should the plane have taken off?
Who organised the trip?
These are questions that need to be answered.
Why was Dave Ibbotson the lone pilot?
A gas engineer with experience in transporting paratroopers on flights from private airfields, Ibbotson had already taken the player from Cardiff to Nantes earlier that same day.
Fellow aviator David Henderson passed the boarding gate with Ibbotson yet he did not get on the plane.
Local media have reported that he explained his reasons to the police, but they have not been made public.
And now, where is the body of Ibbotson? Sala‘s body was removed from the plane, but there were no signs of any other occupant inside.
The authorities in charge of the search have not been able to recover the plane from the sea due to the weather and the search has been terminated.
Will the images taken shed more light on the situation?
Why has the search been terminated?
Why did the accident happen?
What were the causes of the accident that took the plane out of the air?
That is the question that everyone keeps asking.
What happened that night? Was the plane fit to fly? Was the weather conducive to crossing the Channel? Was there negligence on behalf of the pilot, who had indicated that he was somewhat rusty with the landing gear? Did the aircraft fail?
Sala sent several messages to his friend Nicolas Pallois, who had taken him to the airport, saying that the plane had attempted to take off three or four times before achieving it.
The player even half-jokingly admitted to his fear mid-flight in a voice message.
Specialists warned that the attempt to cross the English Channel with a single-engine plane at night in bad weather was not a good idea.
The investigation will try to clarify what happened on the plane.
The plane’s last contact was on January 21 at around 20:30 GMT in the vicinity of the Casquets lighthouse, about 50 kilometres from where it was found.
Should Cardiff pay for the signing?
A conflict between Nantes and the Premier League side has opened, as the French club want to collect the transfer fee.
Days after the disappearance of the plane, Cardiff froze the payment of 15 million pounds.
Nantes asked the Welsh club to comply with the agreement and they could face a points penalty if they don’t.
Now, a long investigation will begin to determine what happened and everything that surrounds it, but in the meanwhile the football world continues to mourn the tragic death of a young man.