Blaenau Ffestiniog mountain fire: About 20 homes evacuated

Families in about 20 homes had to be evacuated after a large fire engulfed a mountain.

The huge fire in Blaenau Ffestiniog was described as “looking like a volcano”

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service had 30 firefighters at Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd, overnight.

Eyewitness Chris McPhail said: “As I was driving up I could just see the glow and a load of smoke. It just looked like a volcano.”

The alarm was raised just before 20:30 BST on Monday, with residents asked to leave in the early hours of Tuesday.

The fire service said it was still dealing with hotspots flaring up in the area.

BBC Wales’ Laura Raymond said she was woken by firefighters “smashing open” fire hydrants at about 03:00.

“The hill was literally glowing from behind,” she said.

View of fire on Garreg Ddu
The alarm was raised just before 20:30 on Easter Monday
The mountain over Blaenau Ffestiniog
Fire crews spent the entire night tackling the blaze

The blaze is thought to have started behind quarry workings in an area overlooking the town called Garreg Ddu – Black Rock.

“Black Rock is like a huge gigantic lump of coal, with burning embers,” said Ms Raymond.

“We’ve been well looked after and the crews have done an amazing job. We’re just so thankful because the crews have directed it away from the houses.”

Part of the A470 Church Street through the town remains closed, to allow access to the remaining hillside hotspots.

Fire crews tackling the Blaenau Ffestiniog mountain fire
The cause of the fire is not yet known

Geraint Hughes, who is managing the fire operation on the ground, said his teams had faced substantial challenges tackling the blaze.

“The rugged terrain and the steepness of it makes it difficult to put staff and personnel on the mountain to tackle it with beaters or hose-reels,” he said.

“Consequently, we’ve had to use the aerial ladder platform here to get at those places on the rock faces, because the fire is coming down the mountainside and, obviously, has been coming close to properties.”

He said fire crews were “currently managing” the situation, however some areas were continuing to flare-up.

Geraint Hughes, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service
The quarrying terrain has posed challenges to fire fighters, says Geraint Hughes from North Wales Fire and Rescue
Garreg Ddu on fire above Blaenau Ffestiniog
Garreg Ddu – Black Rock – was ‘like a volcano’ say eyewitnesses

Many of the evacuated residents spent the night in a cafe, including Jackie Brunger.

“It was just glowing orange and it was absolutely frightening – I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said.

“We were told to get away as soon as we could, so we took our car and went to the cafe.

“There was ash and bits of flame coming down. How far it has spread, so quickly – it was frightening.”

Aerial platform in operation with firefighter at Blaenau Ffestiniog
Crews from Bangor used their aerial platform to douse flames
Fire on Garreg Ddu above Blaenau Ffestiniog
Still burning – crews have spent Tuesday damping down hotspots above the town

Sue Roberts opened up De Niros cafe for those told to leave their homes, and helped keep fire crews and police teams fed during the night.

“It’s been a bit busy,” she joked. “It looked quite spectacular when you think about it.”

People have now started returning to their homes in the area, with firefighters winding down operations.

Chris McPhail took this image of the fire from the centre of Blaenau Ffestiniog
Residents say the town was under a cloud of acrid smoke
The fire above Blaenau Ffestiniog
Resident Jackie Brunger said one firefighter climbed the hillside directly behind her home

Gwynedd Council opened a temporary rest centre at Bro Ffestiniog community centre.

But a spokesman added: “Thankfully, those affected have been supported within the local community and have not needed to make use of the centre.”

Councillor Anwen Daniels said she thought the council would work closely with the fire service to prevent a repeat of events.

“Blaenau Ffestiniog is infamous for being a wet place – but when you want the rain, it isn’t coming,” she added.

Police are treating the death as unexplained

Boy found dead in Ystrad Mynach named as Carson Price

A 13-year-old boy has died after being found unconscious in a south Wales park.

Police were called to Ystrad Mynach Park, Caerphilly, at about 19:20 BST on Friday 12 April.

The teen was taken to University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff where he was pronounced dead.

Gwent Police are treating the boy’s death as unexplained and specialists are working to determine the exact cause of death.

His family have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers.

Det Chief Insp Sam Payne said: “At this time enquiries are ongoing and the investigation into this young boy’s death are still in the early stages.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.

“I’d like to appeal to anyone who can assist with our investigation.”

Ystrad Mynach Park
The park is poplar with local families

The boy was found close to trees beside the rugby pitch.

Gwent Police are treating the boy’s death as unexplained and specialists are working to determine the exact cause of death.

Det Ch Insp Sam Payne said: “At this time enquiries are ongoing and the investigation into this young boy’s death are still in the early stages.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.

“I’d like to appeal to anyone who can assist with our investigation.”

Emiliano Sala (left) was heading to his new club, Cardiff City, on board a plane being flown by David Ibbotson

Sala pilot David Ibbotson ‘not qualified to fly at night’

The pilot of the plane which crashed into the English Channel with Emiliano Sala on board, was not qualified to fly at night, BBC Wales understands.

David Ibbotson is thought to have been colour-blind, and his licence restricted him to flying in daytime hours only.

Footballer Sala, 28, died when the plane carrying him from Nantes to Cardiff crashed late on 21 January.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said it could not comment.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said licensing “continues to be a focus” of its investigations.

Regulatory authorities have confirmed that Mr Ibbotson, from Crowle, North Lincolnshire, did not hold a “night rating” on his UK private pilot’s licence, the BBC understands.

His UK licence was mirrored by a US pilot’s licence – enabling him to fly the US-registered Piper Malibu in Europe.

The public record of his Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) licence states Mr Ibbotson “must have available glasses for near vision” and that “all limitations and restrictions on the United Kingdom pilot licence apply”.

There is no publicly available record of UK pilot licences, which are held by the CAA.

But sources have told BBC Wales that Mr Ibbotson’s licence restricted him to “flights by day only”.

Radar track map
The final radar track record – given in the AAIB’s interim report

An aviation source told BBC Wales that the ability to be able to differentiate between green and red lights is “key” to flying in the dark.

“Anything that’s on the UK licence applies to the US licence as well, so he couldn’t do anything more than the UK licence allows.

“Flying outside the restrictions of your licence is illegal and that’s likely to affect the insurance cover for the flight.”

European aviation rules define night as “the time from half an hour after sunset until half an hour before sunrise”.

Flight plans seen by BBC Wales indicate the flight scheduled to take Argentine player Sala for his first training session with Cardiff City had been due to leave Nantes airport at 09:00 local time on 21 January.

But the flight was postponed until 19:00, at the request of Sala, to allow him to spend the day saying goodbye to his Nantes teammates.

By the time Mr Ibbotson taxied a Piper Malibu plane on to the runway ready for take-off shortly after 19:00, it would have been around an hour and 10 minutes since sunset.

Air accident investigators' photo showing the rear left side of the fuselage
Air accident investigators’ photo showing the rear left side of the fuselage on the seabed

Speculation about the legality of the flight has so far centred around the question of whether it complied with restrictions concerning private pilots flying passengers in Europe in a US-registered aircraft.

As a private pilot, 59-year-old Mr Ibbotson was not allowed to carry passengers for remuneration or financial reward.

A preliminary report from the AIIB, released in February, stated he could only fly passengers on a cost-share basis.

As the aircraft was US-registered, pilot and passenger must have a “common purpose” for making the journey, and the pilot must dictate when a flight leaves.

The report adds that the flight “must not be made for the purpose of merely transporting the passenger”.

Piper Malibu aircraft, N264DB, at Nantes before the fatal flight
Piper Malibu aircraft, N264DB, at Nantes before the fatal flight

In an interview in February, football agent Willie McKay, who commissioned the flight, told the BBC that he and his family paid for the flight.

He was not involved, he said, in selecting the plane or the pilot and it was not a cost-share arrangement.

The plane disappeared off radar north of Guernsey in the Channel Islands at 20:16.

Sala’s body was recovered from the wreckage of the plane in early February but Mr Ibbotson’s body has not been found.

Sala posing with a Cardiff City shirt on 20 January
Sala posing with a Cardiff City shirt on 20 January, the day before the fatal flight

The European Aviation Safety Agency (Easa) states that to obtain a night rating, a pilot must undergo five hours of theory and five hours of flight training.

In their preliminary report, the AAIB said that because Mr Ibbotson’s pilot licence and log book had been lost in the crash, it had not yet been able to establish what ratings he held or how many hours he had flown recently – although it was known he had completed approximately 3,700 flying hours.

Investigators would normally look to establish how many hours a pilot had flown in the last 28 and 90 days before a crash.

The AAIB is expected to publish its full report into the tragedy early in 2020.

Brexit: Process in deadlock as MPs seek consensus

The Brexit process remains in deadlock as MPs struggle to find a consensus on the next steps.

The Commons failed to find a majority for a way forward after voting for eight different options on Wednesday.

And while some senior Brexiteers have moved towards supporting Theresa May’s deal, the MPs she relies on in the DUP have refused to alter their stance.

The PM won some support by saying she would resign ahead of the next round of EU negotiations if her deal passes.

This means she still may bring her plan back to the Commons this week for another vote – the so-called “meaningful vote three” – despite it already being defeated twice by large margins.

Mrs May’s close ally and former deputy Damian Green told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the prime minister will “take the path of soldiering on”.

But although the prime minister has won over the likes of former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, a number of hardcore Brexiteers are still refusing to vote for the deal.

Former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab said he still believed it is still possible to get concessions from the EU on the deal, but if the bloc does not move, there should be “sensible conversations” around no-deal.

And the vice-chairman of the backbench European Research Group, Steve Baker, has suggested he may resign the Conservative whip rather than vote for the deal.

What happened last night?

MPs voted to seize power of the Commons on Wednesday and put forward a series of options to take Brexit forward – including leaving without a deal, creating a customs union and backing a confirmatory referendum on any deal.

But after several hours of debate, none of the eight options emerged as a front runner among MPs.

Conservative MP Sir Oliver Letwin, who oversaw the unprecedented process of “indicative votes”, said the lack of a majority for any proposition was “disappointing”.

But he told the Today programme no “assumptions” should be made about the outcome of further indicative votes, which he believes should take place on Monday if the PM’s deal is not approved this week.

“It’s very difficult to translate from how people vote the first time, when they don’t know how other people are voting, to how they will vote when they can see how other people are voting under new circumstances,” he said.

Ahead of Wednesday’s debate, Mrs May told a meeting of Conservative backbenchers she would leave office earlier than planned if she won Parliament’s backing for her withdrawal agreement with the EU.

Mrs May told her MPs: “I have heard very clearly the mood of the parliamentary party. I know there is a desire for a new approach – and new leadership – in the second phase of the Brexit negotiations – and I won’t stand in the way of that.”

She told MPs she would resign as party leader after 22 May – the new Brexit date – but stay on as PM until a new leader is elected. However, Downing Street said it would be a “different ball game” if the deal was not passed.

Did it work?

Mrs May’s announcement that she would not lead the talks with Brussels over the future relationship between the UK an EU prompted a number of Tory opponents of her deal to signal their backing.

The BBC’s political editor Emmanuel justice, says the controversy over the PM’s deal has been centred on the withdrawal agreement – or the first phase of Brexit – so for many Tory MPs, a reassurance that it won’t be Mrs May who leads that next phase is important.

But, she says, politics is a strange business, and rivalries and ambition may be part of many MPs’ calculations too.

Prominent Leave supporters such as Mr Johnson and former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said they now viewed prime minister’s deal as the least-worst option.

But Mrs May needs to win over 75 rebels to overturn the 149-vote rejection of her deal on 13 March.

And many, including prominent Brexiteer and leader of the European Research Group, Jacob Rees-Mogg, will not side with her unless she gets the support of the DUP – whose leader said on Wednesday they could not vote for the deal.

Mr Rees-Mogg told reporters: “I don’t think the deal’s suddenly got better, simply that the alternative is now worse.

“I’m in favour of the deal and I hope the DUP will come over to the deal, but we’ll have to wait and see what they do.”

Arlene Foster: “Backstop makes it impossible for us to sign deal”

The DUP’s main objection is to the backstop, the “insurance policy” designed to avoid the return of border checkpoints between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in the event a future trade deal is not agreed.

It argues that the measure would result in Northern Ireland having to abide by different trade rules to the rest of the UK, which leader Arlene Foster says would “damage the Union”.

“The backstop in that withdrawal agreement makes it impossible for us to sign up to the agreement,” she told the BBC.

Party colleague Jim Wells said no unionist would ever back Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement as it was, since it would leave Northern Ireland “sitting in the waiting room for constitutional change”.

Mr Raab said he wanted the government to go back to the EU again, to “keep the arm of friendship open” and “explain that there’s still time for an exchange of letters providing a legally binding exit from the backstop”.

He added: “A lot of people say the EU just won’t move. That’s been treated as a fixture of these negotiations rather than being tested.”

But, if not, Mr Raab called for conversations to “mitigate any potential damage” from leaving without a deal.

No clear message from MPs

“If we do all of those things in the spirit of realism and pragmatism, we’ll find a way through,” he said.

Parliament demanded to be heard very loudly and then, when it spoke, it said lots of different things.

There were signs, both around the idea of a customs union – a closer trading relationship with the European Union than is in the prime minister’s deal – and also the idea of having a rubber-stamping referendum.

But there certainly wasn’t a clear message.

It is still the view – as ministers have said to me in recent weeks – that ultimately, even if Parliament takes control of some of this process, in the end they will go down a list, they will tick off the options one by one and all routes will lead to a form of Theresa May’s deal .

But the political damage that has been done and the political authority she has now staked and then lost over her offer to resign, make that harder and harder by the hour.

It may well be by Monday, and some people in cabinet now predict this, we are either looking at the prime minister going to Brussels to say we need a long extension or the country – as Oliver Letwin suggested – is seriously heading towards leaving without a deal.

Presentational grey line

There are also signs Theresa May’s offer to resign has hardened Labour opposition as they fear what the next Tory leader will push for.

Labour MP Liz Kendall told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme: “I am extremely worried about our future relationship with the EU, and whatever is agreed in Parliament on the withdrawal agreement, the next Tory leader – if they’re a hardline Brexiteer – will push for a hard Brexit. I for one am not prepared to let that happen.”

Labour’s own alternative plan for Brexit – including “close alignment” with the single market and protections for workers’ rights – was defeated by 307 votes to 237 on Wednesday.

What happens next?

If Mrs May’s deal is not approved this week, MPs are likely to resume discussions about some of the options rejected through the indicative voting process.

Her deal has been rejected twice by MPs: in January by 230 votes – the largest defeat for a sitting government in history – and in March by 149 votes.

Of the alternative Brexit options voted on by MPs on Wednesday, Margaret Beckett’s proposal was defeated by 27 votes and Ken Clarke’s proposal lost by eight votes.

How MPs voted

ForAgainstDefeated by
Confirmatory referendum26829527
Customs union2642728
Labour’s Brexit plan23730770
Common Market 2.018828395
Revoking Article 50 to avoid no deal184293109
No-deal exit on 12 April160400240
Malthouse Plan B139422283
EFTA and EEA membership65377312

Former Labour MP Frank Field – who now sits as an independent and has voted for Mrs May’s deal – suggested a compromise could be to combine the withdrawal agreement with a customs union after the latter gained the most support of any of Wednesday’s proposals.

He told Victoria Derbyshire: “There is the will of the people that said we wish to leave [but] I think the negotiated deal by itself is not going to get through Parliament.

“We therefore need to add to that to get a majority in Parliament. The nearest we got to a majority yesterday was the customs union [so] I think we should combine the two of them.”

Commons Speaker John Bercow said on Wednesday the process agreed by the House allowed for a second stage of debate on Monday and there was no reason this should not continue.

While it was up to MPs, he said there was an understanding Wednesday’s objective was to “shortlist” a number of options before moving on to consider the “most popular”.

Victoria Maclean's prized possession is a 24 carat gold-plated Golden Snitch puzzle piece

Harry Potter: Tonna fan bags memorabilia world record

A Harry Potter superfan has managed to “Slytherin” to the record books after collecting thousands of pieces of memorabilia.

Victoria Maclean, of Tonna, Neath Port Talbot, has 3,686 individual JK Rowling-related items.

This earned her the Wizarding World Collection world record – which includes the Fantastic Beasts series.

YouTuber Mrs Maclean, 38, said: “I screamed a lot – it was so incredible after all these months.”

She was presented with her world record certificate by Guinness World Records on Wednesday.

The arduous task of counting her entire collection involved packing it all up from her home and taking it to the local rugby club where it could be laid out in full.

But the three-day process of packing, unloading, counting and re-packing had to be repeated after Mrs Maclean grouped some items as one when they counted as individuals.

Harry Potter memorabilia in Tonna Rugby Club
Mrs Maclean’s collection filled a room in her local rugby club
A sculpture of Hogwarts
You name it, Victoria’s got it, including this miniature sculpture of Hogwarts

This new record, incorporating collectibles from the wider JK Rowling universe, means Mexico City’s Menahem Asher Silva Vargas, who has a 3,097-strong Harry Potter collection, keeps his world record.

Mrs Maclean said: “Guinness said, ‘If you want, you could go for the Harry Potter record’, but my husband would divorce me if I did!”

It was while she was pregnant in 2001 that Mrs Maclean’s magical love affair began.

She was watching a segment on Blue Peter about Harry Potter and – two weeks later – had bought and read the first book.

Since then, the mother-of-three has collected every book, DVD, toy, bag, item of clothing and piece of jewellery she can – as well as a host of other collectibles.

Victoria Maclean in font of some of her Harry Potter memorabilia
“If you see a box, or a trunk, or a drawer, or a cupboard in my house, if you open it, it’s just Harry Potter from bottom to top”
Victoria Maclean with actor Tom Felton
Magic moment: Mrs Maclean met Harry Potter star Tom Felton – who played Draco Malfoy – but hopes to meet JK Rowling one day

Her YouTube channel means she often gets sent memorabilia to promote, which helps cut some of the cost, but her collection is worth an estimated £100,000.

Her prized possession is a 24 carat gold-plated Golden Snitch puzzle piece from Japan – one of only 5,000 made – which took six years to track down and buy.

Even with this record – there is still the Holy Grail that eludes her – a first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

“I’ll never stop collecting until I really, really have to. I don’t smoke, I rarely drink – this is my vice,” she added.

As part of the record assessment, all items were assessed and verified by two independent witnesses – one of whom had to be a specialist in the area – and only official merchandise counted towards Mrs Maclean’s total.

Some memorabilia items were removed for not having the official labelling.

Victoria Maclean in font of some of her Harry Potter memorabilia
Which house are you: “Ravenclaw with Slytherin traits and Hufflepuff”
A train collided with a buffer stop and burst into flames next to a busy platform

Cairo station fire: Train driver ‘left brakes off’

A train collided with a buffer stop and burst into flames next to a busy platform

The deadly fire at Cairo’s main railway station on Wednesday happened because the train driver left the cabin without putting the brakes on, Egypt’s public prosecutors believe.

They say a preliminary investigation indicates the driver stepped off the train to argue with a colleague.

But the driver, who has been arrested, blames corroded brakes, reports say.

The train hit a buffer stop at Ramses Station, sparking a huge fire. At least 20 people were killed and 40 injured.

The collision caused the train’s fuel tank to explode, setting the platform and nearby buildings alight.

Witnesses described seeing several severely burned bodies in the latest disaster to hit Egypt’s rundown railways.

What do Egypt’s prosecutors say?

They say the driver left the moving train to start an altercation with another driver on an adjacent lane over the right of way or a minor incident.

The unattended locomotive then sped off and hit the buffer stop.

Aftermath of train collision and fire at Ramses Station in Cairo, Egypt (27 February 2019)
A platform kiosk was engulfed by fire

But the driver says the train was faulty otherwise “it would not have moved by itself”.

“The brakes are corroded and the wheels are corroded,” the driver is quoted as saying by Egypt’s ON TV channel.

The privately owned news website al-Shorouk has cited a source as saying the train was undergoing maintenance when it started moving at speed without a conductor.

The source adds that this is not the first incident of its kind, explaining that there had been two other cases of a train moving without a conductor that had not resulted in any deaths or injuries.

How did Egypt’s authorities react?

Transport Minister Hisham Arafat resigned hours after Wednesday’s disaster.

During a visit to the scene, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli vowed to severely punish anyone who was found to have been negligent.

“We will identify who is responsible for the accident and they will be held accountable,” he said.

President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi extended his condolences to the families of those who died and pledged to ensure that the injured received the support they needed.

Local media published what they said was CCTV footage showing people on the busy platform as the train hits the buffer at high speed and explodes.

Another video, taken from a CCTV camera above a nearby subway staircase, appears to show people fleeing as a fireball engulfs the platform.

“I saw a man pointing from the locomotive as it entered the platform, and screaming ‘There are no brakes! There are no brakes!’ before he jumped out of the locomotive,” witness Ibrahim Hussein told Reuters news agency.

“I don’t know what happened to him.”

Aftermath of train collision and fire at Ramses Station in Cairo, Egypt (27 February 2019)
The train’s fuel tank exploded after the crash

Egypt’s railway system has a poor safety record, which many observers blame on a lack of investment by successive governments and poor management.

In August 2017, 43 people were killed and more than 100 injured when a fire ripped through an overcrowded passenger train, killing more than 370 people.

Emiliano Sala: Cardiff footballer’s funeral taking place”:

Sala’s father Horacio was seen crying at the vigil for his son

Mourners are paying their final respects to Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala in his native Argentina.

The 28-year-old died when the plane he was in with pilot David Ibbotson crashed in the English Channel en route from Nantes to Cardiff on 21 January.

A wake is being held at the club Sala played for as a youth in his hometown of Progreso before the funeral starts later on Saturday.

Among those in attendance is Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock

“I would like to find a responsible person…someone who says to me: ‘this happened’; but, well, it seems this was just an accident,” said Sala’s aunt Mirta Taffarel.

Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock: “Sala was my player”

Sala was killed when a single-engine light aircraft, flown by pilot Mr Ibbotson, crashed near Alderney just two days after,

His body, which was recovered from the wreckage following a privately-funded search last week was repatriated to Argentina on Friday.

It was then driven from Buenos Aires to the Sante Fe province, where Sala grew up.

Mourners applauded in tribute as the footballer’s coffin was carried in his hometown of Progreso

Outside the wake, fans draped a banner reading ‘Emi, nunca caminaras solo’ or ‘Emi, You’ll Never Walk Alone’.

“It’s as if he was a member of my family,” said a sobbing Lucia Torres, who lives nearby.

“It’s something I can’t understand nor accept because it hurts so much. The town has been in darkness since 21 January.”


Emiliano Sala is known affectionately as Emi in his hometown


Sala’s aunt Mirta Taffarel as she left the wake on Saturday morning

“He represented a lot for us,” said Daniel Ribero, president of Sala’s boyhood club San Martin de Progreso.

“We’re a small village and Emi was a celebrity, the only player to turn professional.”

Ahead of the service, the club posted a message on social media saying: “We are waiting for you … like the first day you left but this time to stay with us forever. Eternally in our hearts.”


Daniel Ribero, president of Sala’s boyhood club San Martin de Progreso, said the footballer was a “celebrity” in the town

The wake got under way at the sports hall in San Martin de Progreso at 07:00 local time (10:00 GMT), and the funeral started at 14:00 (17:00 GMT).

As well as Cardiff’s delegation of Warnock and chief executive Ken Choo, Sala’s former club FC Nantes has been represented by defender Nicolas Pallois and its general secretary.

Warnock said: “He’s my player. He signed for me I think he was going to be very instrumental in what we were looking to do and I feel it’s the only good thing you can do.

“Family puts it in perspective. Family is so important, everything here today has shown how important it is…it seems like the whole village has got together.”

Mr Choo added: “We feel very sad and the whole club feels very sad.”

“Today I think it’s good for the family to have some closure.”

Sala’s mother Mercedes and sister Romina, who travelled to Europe after his disappearance, have returned to Progreso.


Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock travelled to Argentina for the funeral


Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock is due to attend the funeral on Saturday

His father Horacio also attended the funeral.

Meanwhile, a campaign to raise funds to find the body of Mr Ibbotson has reached £240,000.

The family of the 59-year-old, who is feared dead, are hoping to raise £300,000.

Emiliano Sala’s funeral to take place in hometown in Argentina

The funeral of Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala will take place in his native Argentina on Saturday.

The 28-year-old died when the plane he was in with pilot David Ibbotson crashed in the English Channel en route from Nantes to Cardiff on 21 January.

His funeral will take place in his hometown of Progreso and a wake will also be held at the club Sala played for as a youth.

Among those due to attend is Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock


Emiliano Sala (left) was on board a plane being flown by pilot David Ibbotson

Sala was killed when a single-engine light aircraft, flown by pilot Mr Ibbotson, crashed near Alderney just two days after he became Cardiff City’s record transfer,

His body, which was recovered from the wreckage following a privately-funded search last week, was repatriated in Argentina on Friday.

It was then driven from Buenos Aires to the Sante Fe province, where Sala grew up.

Emiliano Sala: Search for footballer and pilot called off

Emiliano Sala: £220,000 raised for private search Emiliano Sala: £220,000 raised for private search

Ahead of the service, boyhood club San Martin de Progreso posted a message on social media saying: “We are waiting for you … like the first day you left but this time to stay with us forever.

“Eternally in our hearts.”

San Martin de Progreso club entrance

Sala played football at San Martin de Progreso until he was 15

As well as Cardiff’s delegation of Warnock and chief executive Ken Choo, Sala’s former club FC Nantes will be represented by defender Nicolas Pallois and its general secretary.

Sala’s mother Mercedes and sister Romina, who travelled to Europe after his disappearance, have already rejoined the footballer’s dad Horacio back in Argentina.

Meanwhile, a campaign to raise funds to find the body of Mr Ibbotson has reached £240,000

The family of the 59-year-old, who is feared dead, are hoping to raise £300,000.


Ford exit reports ‘deeply worrying’ for Bridgend plant”:

Reports of Ford stepping up plans to move production out of the UK are “deeply worrying”, former first minister Carwyn Jones has said.

The Times newspaper claimed the car giant told Prime Minister Theresa May it was preparing sites abroad.

Ford did not comment on the claim but said a no-deal Brexit would be “catastrophic” for the UK car industry.

It has a plant in Mr Jones’ Bridgend constituency and last month union Unite said 1,000 jobs were to be cut by 2021.

Those cuts, which the union said was because of challenging market conditions, would see the site’s workforce almost halve.

Ford is looking to shake up its European operations and is the latest carmaker to warn about the risks of a no-deal Brexit ahead of the UK’s departure from the EU on 29 March.

A spokesman said: “Such a situation would be catastrophic for the UK auto industry and Ford’s manufacturing operations in the country.

“We will take whatever action is necessary to preserve the competitiveness of our European business.”

Labour’s Mr Jones expressed his concern for workers and their families in Bridgend, but blamed the impasse over the Brexit deal on a lack of leadership at UK level.

“We have no idea what Brexit will look like,” he said.

Ford workers in Bridgend
The job losses in Bridgend would be phased over the next two years

“We’re six or seven weeks away from it and companies like Ford are saying, ‘look we can’t wait any longer, we’re going to have to put in place contingency plans’ and that’s deeply worrying.

“We need to make sure that we get to an agreement and certainty as quickly as possible.”

Unite national officer Des Quinn urged MPs to “stop gambling” with the futures of UK workers and their families.

He added: “They now must do what is best for the country by taking a no deal, hard Brexit off the table and securing the tariff-free, frictionless trade with Europe through a permanent customs union on which our manufacturing success depends.”

The UK government said the best way to provide certainty to industry is for MPs to support the prime minister’s Brexit deal.

Highlights: Wales secure record-equalling 11th straight win

Six Nations: Warren Gatland says Wales will be ‘a lot better’ against England

Wales coach Warren Gatland says he will be happy if his side are underestimated following the scrappy win over Italy.

Gatland’s side top the Six Nations table after away wins against France and Italy and next face England in Cardiff on 23 February.

He said: “A lot of people will write us off, which is a good position to be in. Hopefully we’ll go under the radar.

“You’re not always brilliant and we weren’t today. We will be a lot better against England.”

Josh Adams and Owen Watkin scored second-half tries while Dan Biggar kicked 14 points to see off a resilient Italy side 26-15 in Rome.

“A lot of people will look to criticise us but you have to give Italy some credit for how they played,” added Gatland.

“That’s probably the best Italian performance I’ve seen since I’ve been in charge of Wales.”

Wales will achieve a record-breaking 12th successive Test win if they defeat England to beat the milestone set in 1910.

“We didn’t speak about the record at all this week but we will probably talk about it before England,” said Gatland.

“If this group of players achieve that, it’ll be something nobody can take away from them.

“We’ve got a chance, we’re at home, the stadium will be full, it’ll be some atmosphere at the Principality Stadium. So there will definitely be no lack of motivation in trying to beat England and break that record.”

Six Nations: Beating Italy 'a lesson in how to win ugly' - Gatland
Six Nations: Beating Italy ‘a lesson in how to win ugly’ – Gatland

Gatland said he had no regrets about making 10 changes against Italy from the side that beat France 24-19. He has used 31 players in those two victories and said the World Cup later this year was behind his decision.

“I was looking at the bigger picture,” said Gatland, whose contract with Wales ends after the tournament in Japan.

“For us as coaches, in our last year, we want to have as good a World Cup as we can. That was the plan all along. There’s no regret.

“If it was a normal year, on reflection, maybe we wouldn’t have made so many changes. We wanted to give everyone in the 31 an opportunity to be involved in the first two games.

“We’ll put this game behind us and the most satisfying thing was coming away with a win.”

Emiliano Sala search team recover body from plane wreckage

Emiliano Sala search team recover body from plane wreckage

A body has been recovered from the wreckage of the plane which crashed with Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson on board.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch said specialist contractors joined the operation in “challenging conditions”.

It was carried out in “as dignified a way as possible” and the men’s families were kept updated throughout, it said.

Emiliano Sala search team recover body from plane wreckage
It is not yet known whose body was recovered from the plane wreckage

The wreckage of the plane, which vanished two weeks ago over the English Channel, was found off Guernsey.

The Geo Ocean III, the boat carrying the body, arrived at Portland Port in Dorset on Thursday morning as it is the nearest part of the British mainland to where the plane was located.

Dorset Police said: “The arrival of the body into Dorset has been reported to the coroner for Dorset.

“The coroner will investigate the circumstances of this death supported by Dorset Police. A post-mortem examination will be held in due course.”

No formal identification has taken place, but the force said both families had been updated.

Emiliano Sala and David Ibbotson
Emiliano Sala (left) was on board a plane being flown by pilot David Ibbotson

The Piper Malibu N264DB was en route from France to Cardiff, after the 28-year-old Argentine striker made a quick trip back to his former club Nantes two days after his £15m transfer to Cardiff was announced.

Mr Ibbotson, 59, from Crowle, North Lincolnshire, was at the controls when the flight lost contact with air traffic controllers on 21 January.

An official search was called off on 24 January after Guernsey’s harbour master said the chances of survival were “extremely remote”.

But an online appeal started by Sala’s agent raised £324,000 (371,000 euros) for a private search led by marine scientist and oceanographer David Mearns.

Working jointly with the AAIB, his ship and the Geo Ocean III, began combing a four square mile area of the English Channel, 24 nautical miles north of Guernsey, to make best use of the available sensors.

Mr Mearns said the plane was identified by sonar, before a submersible with cameras was sent underwater to confirm this.

Footballers and fans pay tribute to Emiliano Sala at Cardiff City Stadium
A minute’s silence was held for Sala and Mr Ibbotson ahead of Cardiff’s home game against Bournemouth
Fans place flowers and T-shirts with messages in tribute of Emiliano Sala before Cardiff's Premier League match against Bournemouth at the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday
Cardiff fans left a sea of flowers outside the Cardiff City Stadium in tribute to Emiliano Sala

The AAIB used a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) to aid the search, with no divers involved.

The body was moved first, and separately from the wreckage, to maximise the chances of it being successfully brought to the surface.

It said efforts to recover the crashed plane as a whole proved unsuccessful, before being abandoned due to poor weather.

“The weather forecast is poor for the foreseeable future and so the difficult decision was taken to bring the overall operation to a close,” the AAIB said in a statement.

However, the AAIB said video footage captured by the ROV would provide “valuable evidence” for its safety investigation.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Sala’s former club, French Ligue 1 side Nantes, has demanded Cardiff City pay his £15m transfer fee.

Sala, 28, was Cardiff’s record signing but never played for the club.

The fee was due to be paid over three years but Cardiff have withheld the first scheduled payment until they are satisfied with the documentation.

A supporter stands in front of flowers placed in front of a giant portrait of Emilianio Sala outside La Beaujoire stadium before Tuesday's French Cup match between FC Nantes and Toulouse FC
Supporters in Nantes have also been paying tribute to Sala
Wales have ‘plenty to improve on’ - Owens

Six Nations: Wales should stick with Gareth Anscombe – Jamie Roberts

Six Nations: Italy v Wales
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome Date: Saturday, 9 February Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on S4C, BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Bath centre Jamie Roberts says Wales head coach Warren Gatland should keep faith with half-backs Gareth Anscombe and Tomos Williams against Italy.

The Cardiff Blues pair started in Wales’ Six Nations opener against France in which Gatland’s side came back from 16-0 down to win 24-19.

Anscombe was not at his best in wet conditions, but Roberts believes he deserves to retain the number 10 shirt.

“I think he’s a quality player,” he said.

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“Gats has spoken openly about backing Gareth because he did very well in November, let’s not forget that.”

Gatland will name his side to play Italy on Thursday.

Fly-half Anscombe was preferred to Northampton’s Dan Biggar and scrum-half Williams was given the nod ahead of Scarlets’ Gareth Davies at the Stade de France.

Tomos Williams
Tomos Williams made his first Six Nations start in the win over France

Williams scored Wales’ opening try in Paris with Anscombe successful with two conversions, while his second-half replacement Biggar added a penalty and conversion.

“I’d back the lads again,” Wales international Roberts told BBC Wales’ Scrum V Six Nations special.

“It was wet at the weekend and it was a shame we couldn’t see the best of Anscombe.

“It was greasy, and for him and Tomos Williams, it was difficult to judge them on that performance, I think.

“Hopefully it’s a dry track in Rome and I’d go with those lads again.

“That’s not saying anything about Gareth Davies and Dan Biggar, I thought they were magnificent when they came on.

Wales have ‘plenty to improve on’ - Owens
Wales have ‘plenty to improve on’ – Owens

“What a great selection headache for Warren Gatland.”

But former Wales captain Gwyn Jones believes Biggar should start against Italy in Rome on Saturday.

Six Nations: Wales beat France in comeback in opening game
Six Nations: Wales beat France in comeback in opening game

“In dry weather with us going forward, I think Anscombe is a wonderful 10 and can rip teams apart,” Jones said.

“But in those [wet] conditions I don’t think he’s the man for us. He’s prone to good highs but very low lows.

“I think Dan Biggar gives you eight-and- a-half every week at least and gives you a couple of things Anscombe doesn’t give you.

“He gives defensive solidity, and he’s probably our best player in the air.

“If these aerial battles are going to define these games, then let’s get our very best guy at catching the ball in the air on the pitch and he gives fantastic kicking.”

Liam and Victoria Rosney were cleared of attempting to pervert the course of justice

Carol Boardman: Man jailed for killing Olympian’s mother

A driver who admitted killing Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman’s mother by running over her has been sentenced to 30 weeks in prison.

Liam Rosney, 33, of Connah’s Quay, had previously admitted causing death by careless driving at Mold Crown Court.

Carol Boardman: Man jailed for killing Olympian's mother
Chris Boardman: ‘I have nothing to say to mum’s killer’

Carol Boardman, 75, died in July 2016 after she fell off her bike in Deeside, Flintshire.

The court heard Rosney was distracted as he made or received three phone calls before the incident.

He faced a charge of causing death by dangerous driving but later admitted the lesser charge.

As well as the prison sentence, Rosney was banned from driving for 18 and a half months.

“This was an accident which could have easily been prevented and your contribution to that accident is significant in as much as you were distracted,” said Judge Rhys Rowlands.

“The distraction being as a result of you using your mobile phone before the actual collision.”

The incident happened after Carol Boardman fell off her bike

Mrs Boardman, 75, whose cyclist son Chris won gold at the 1992 Olympics, suffered multiple injuries when she was hit by Mr Rosney’s Mitsubishi pick-up truck after falling from her bike on a mini-roundabout in Connah’s Quay on 16 July 2016.

Judge Rowlands said: “Any accident which results in someone losing their life is the most appalling tragedy, the more so when the deceased, as here, was well-loved and, as I have indicated already, a pretty remarkable woman.”

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The court heard that in the minutes before Rosney hit Mrs Boardman, who had fallen from her bike on the junction of Mold Road and Ffordd Llanarth, he made or received three phone calls while driving his vehicle, which did not have a hands-free facility.

Matthew Curtis, prosecuting, said: “It’s clear he was speaking to his wife on the telephone four seconds before the fatal collision and he was, we submit, still distracted by the telephone call and mobile telephone handset.”

Oliver Jarvis, defending, said Rosney did not “want to make any excuses for his behaviour” and realised he had “destroyed the lives” of Mrs Boardman’s family.

Chris Boardman said: “My dad has lost his partner of 50 years which has just been absolutely gutting.”

Looking at the devastating impact the incident has had on his family, he questioned the nature of the charge.

“We don’t treat crime committed in cars as serious crime, so somebody can be careless and crush somebody else to death and it’s classed as careless,” he said.

While he said he did not want to see lots of people go to prison, he wanted to see the ability to do harm taken away.

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Boardman called for a review of the law, saying people do “the easiest thing” when driving [such as using their phones] and “react to the consequences”, adding: “If the consequence is minimal then where is the reason to change behaviour?”

Liam Rosney and Victoria Rosney
Liam and Victoria Rosney were cleared of attempting to pervert the course of justice

Rosney and his wife Victoria were cleared of attempting to pervert the course of justice in July.

Mrs Boardman had been a competitive cyclist in her youth and had remained active in cycling until her death.

Emiliano Sala's family view search area off Guernsey

Emiliano Sala’s family view search area off Guernsey

The family of missing Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala are planning an underwater search.

Family spokesman David Mearns told a press conference that a private search of the English Channel, paid for by fundraisers, also included fishing boats and other vessels.

Emiliano Sala (left) was on board a plane being flown by pilot David Ibbotson (right
Emiliano Sala (left) was on board a plane being flown by pilot David Ibbotson (right

The underwater search is expected to begin on Sunday.

Meanwhile the family has been taken on a plane to see the area that rescuers have been searching.

They left Guernsey Airport at about 09:30 GMT on a chartered flight with harbourmaster David Barker.

Sala’s sister Romina and mother Mercedes arrived on the island on Sunday and a family spokesman said they were struggling for answers.

The family travelled on a twin-engine Dornier 228-212 plane which flew from Guernsey and circled the island of Alderney.

The plane leaving the airport
The family’s flight leaving Guernsey Airport

Mr Mearns told a press conference on Monday: “We would like to thank all the people and all the companies that have offered their help,” he said.

“We have been planning an underwater search as a next phase… there are still boats on the water… and people are still looking.”

Speaking of Sala and the football community’s reaction, Mr Mearns added: “He’s a really friendly person that people loved – from both clubs and any other clubs, and that’s where you see the breath of the football community coming together in an extraordinarily short period of time to raise this type of money.

“So, obviously the family appreciate that, but their minds have been in a different place this week.”

Burhou Island near Alderney
The family was shown the search area which included Burhou Island near Alderney

An official search for 28-year-old Sala and pilot David Ibbotson, 59, of Crowle, Lincolnshire, was called off on Thursday, with Mr Barker saying the chance of them being alive was “extremely remote”.

But, after a plea from his sister not to give up, more than £290,000 was raised for a private search to continue – which is being led by Mr Mearns, said to be a renowned shipwreck hunter.

High-profile donors to the GoFundMe page include France and PSG forward Kylian Mbappe, former West Ham midfielder Dimitri Payet and Leicester City winger Demarai Gray.

More than 4,000 people have donated to the page.

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Ms Sala said of her brother: “He’s a fighter, he started his football career from very little… He’s a very humble, family man.

“He was always joking, he was very keen to stay with the family all the time and we know he’s here somewhere and we are here to bring him back”.

Neil Warnock said he remembered Mr Ibbotson as a "fabulous pilot"
Neil Warnock said he remembered Mr Ibbotson as a “fabulous pilot”

Speaking for the first time since Sala disappeared, Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock said he could understand Sala’s family’s stance on keeping the search going.

“If it was my kid I’d want everybody looking forever,”he said at a press conference  on Monday.

“It’s by far the most difficult week in my career. Even now I can’t get my head round the situation,” he said.

“When I look at Romina and the family, it’s such a difficult time. I keep looking at my own children and thinking what I would be doing now, as well.”

Mr Warnock added he believed he had also been flown by Mr Ibbotson.

“I’d been on a couple of planes like that, but I think the ones I’d be on might have had two engines.

“But I’d been over the top to Nantes a couple of times, and I do think I had that pilot – who I thought was a fabulous pilot.

“So I just can’t comprehend it.”

Map showing location of Alderney and lighthouse
Emiliano Sala was on board a plane bound for Cardiff from Nantes when it disappeared from radar

Argentine striker Sala signed for the Bluebirds from Nantes on Saturday, 19 January and was flying back to Wales from France when the plane disappeared from radar last Monday evening.

At 19:15 GMT, Mr Ibbotson made a request to descend before losing contact with Jersey air traffic control.

Mr Mearns said they had travelled to Guernsey to be near where the plane was last located and to find out about the investigation and what happens next.

He said: “This is a family that has come from Argentina with this huge shock out of nowhere and is struggling with very, very few answers about an unexplained loss.”

He added the family “still have some hope”, saying: “They’re looking at this as a missing person, a missing plane and until they are satisfied, that’s the mode that we are in.”

Emiliano Sala's family arriving at Guernsey Airport
Sala’s family arrived at Guernsey Airport on Sunday
Emiliano Sala's sister Romina at Cardiff City Stadium
Romina Sala visited Cardiff last week and said she believes both Emiliano and the pilot are alive

Mr Mearns said the private search would entail “more investigative technical searches underwater” at some point.

The family have also thanked donors for their “exceptional generosity” after money was raised to pay for a private search.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch has begun an investigation which will look at “all operational aspects,” including licensing and flight plans.

The PA-46-310P Malibu aircraft
The PA-46-310P Malibu aircraft Sala and Mr Ibbotson were on board
Tributes have been left outside the Cardiff City Stadium
Properties were affected on Sunday morning, with most of the outages in Tumble, Carmarthenshire.

Met Office issues snow warning for all of Wales


Snow and ice could bring disruption across Wales, the Met Office has warned.

They issued a yellow warning for the whole of the country and said rain could turn to snow from 12:00 GMT on Tuesday until 11:00 GMT on Wednesday.

Some roads and railways are likely to be affected, with longer journey times expected on the road, and with bus and train services.

There is also an increased risk of slips and falls due to icy surfaces.

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Strong winds brought down a 150-year-old ash tree in Roch, Pembrokeshire, over the weekend

The warning comes less than 24 hours after strong winds in Wales left more than 1,000 homes without power.

Properties were affected on Sunday morning, with most of the outages in Tumble, Carmarthenshire.

Recent Topics

Emiliano Sala: Julien Laurens on 'warrior spirit' of Argentine striker

Emiliano Sala: Agent who booked Cardiff City striker’s flight reveals text messages

Football agent Willie McKay says he arranged the flight that missing Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala took from Nantes, but was not involved in selecting the plane or pilot.

The search for Argentine Sala, 28, and 59-year-old pilot David Ibbotson was called off on Thursday.

Their plane disappeared, from radar as they flew over the English Channel on their way to Cardiff on Monday night.

McKay has revealed text messages with Sala discussing flight arrangements.

Emiliano Sala: Agent who booked Cardiff City striker's flight reveals text messages
Emiliano Sala’s sister made an emotional plea for the search for her brother to resume

One of McKay’s sons, Mark, was the agent acting for Nantes in the £15m transfer that made Sala Cardiff’s record signing earlier in January.

McKay told the BBC he had arranged the flight through David Henderson – an experienced pilot who had flown him and many of his players “all over Europe on countless occasions”.

It is not known how the job of flying Sala ended up being passed to Ibbotson.

The Civil Aviation Authority is to examine whether Ibbotson was operating with a private or commercial licence.

Henderson has not so far commented on what happened.

In the text exchange released to the BBC by McKay, his other son, Jack – who is a Cardiff player – offers to arrange the private flight for free so Sala could return to Nantes to pick up his belongings and say goodbye to former team-mates at the Ligue 1 club.

McKay said both Mark and Jack had a conversation with Sala about the difficulties of flying to the French city by commercial airline.

He also says a Cardiff player liaison official knew of the arrangements that were made. The BBC has approached the Premier League club for comment.

“With regards to the booking of the flight we contacted Mr David Henderson, who has flown us and many of our players all over Europe on countless occasions,” McKay said.

In a 2015 interview with the BBC, Mr Henderson spoke about his life as an experienced light aircraft pilot.

McKay added: “We had no involvement in selecting a plane or a pilot and we also wish to make clear again we do own the plane that Emiliano flew on.”

The Times newspaper has apologised to McKay for incorrectly stating that he owned the plane.

The agent also said he has met Sala’s friends and family to “give them an understanding of how Emiliano came to be on that plane”.

“The tragic events that have unfolded have shocked us all,” he added.

Emiliano Sala: Julien Laurens on 'warrior spirit' of Argentine striker
Emiliano Sala: Julien Laurens on ‘warrior spirit’ of Argentine striker

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch has started an investigation

which will look at “all operational aspects,” including licensing and flight plans.

Similarly the Civil Aviation Authority is to examine whether the pilot was operating with a private or commercial licence.

Cardiff have started an internal inquiry to try to establish the events leading up to the flight, but a senior source has denied reports the club is considering a multi-million pound negligence lawsuit over the incident.

The source claimed senior club officials only became aware a private flight had been arranged after they were alerted by the club’s player liaison officer that Sala had failed to arrive at Cardiff airport as planned on Monday.

They also made the point that the club does not have a private jet for players to use and therefore they could not be expected to have arranged his travel to and from Nantes.

Argentina’s president has joined calls from Sala’s family and many fellow footballers for the search to resume.

Cardiff’s players will wear yellow daffodils for Tuesday’s Premier League fixture at Arsenal to honour Sala.

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Full text message exchange

These messages between Jack McKay and Sala were translated from French.

Friday, 18 January

7:43pm – Jack McKay: “My dad has told me that you are going home tomorrow. He could organise a plane to take you direct to Nantes and to come back on Monday, at a time that suits you, so you can get to training on Tuesday.”

7:51pm – Emiliano Sala: “Ah that is great. I was just in the middle of checking if there are some flights to get to Nantes tomorrow.”

7:56pm – McKay: “He said he could organise a plane that would go direct to Nantes.”

7:56pm – Sala: “How much will it cost?”

7:56pm – McKay: “Nothing. He said if you help me to score goals it’s nothing.”

7:59pm – Sala: “Hahaha with pleasure.”

8:00pm – Sala: “We are going to score lots of goals.”

8:01pm – Sala: “I want to leave tomorrow for Nantes at around 11am and come back on Monday night around 9pm to Cardiff if that is possible.”

8:05pm – McKay: “Good. I’ll send a message when that’s sorted.”

Sunday, 20 January

5:00pm – McKay: “Hi there is it possible you could come back at seven in the evening on Monday night? Just because the pilot has to get home in the north after he gets to Cardiff.”

5:01pm – Sala: “Hi, Half past seven would be possible.”

5:03pm – McKay: “Yes that’s good.”

5:05pm – Sala: “[PICTURE OF LUGGAGE] Can you ask if I can bring this on the plane?”

5:06pm – McKay: “Good yeah.”

5:07pm – Sala: “But is that going to be OK for the plane?”

McKay: “Yes there is space on the plane for your luggage.”

5:12pm – Sala: “OK.”

Monday, 21 January

4:16pm – McKay: “I’m going to call in a moment.”

4.23pm – McKay: “He said that it is the same company.”

4.27pm – Sala: “OK thanks.”

Emiliano Sala (left) was on board a plane being flown by pilot David Ibbotson (right

Emiliano Sala: £220,000 raised for private search

More than £220,000 has been raised to fund a private search for missing Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala.

The search for Argentine Sala, 28, and 59-year-old pilot David Ibbotson was called off on Thursday.

Their plane disappeared, from radar as they flew over the English Channel on their way to Cardiff on Monday night.

A former Guernsey harbourmaster said the search was “like looking for a needle in a haystack, when you don’t even know where the haystack is”.

Argentina’s president Mauricio Macri has joined calls by Sala’s family for the search to resume

Footballers including Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan are among 2,448 people who have contributed to donations for the private search on a GoFundMe page.

Other contributors include Nantes manager Vahid Halilhodzic, Leicester City winger Demarai Gray, Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot and Bayern Munich’s Corentin Tolisso.

Emiliano Sala: Search for footballer and pilot called off

Emiliano Sala: Cardiff City FC player on missing plane

Organisers of the page, Paris-based football agency Sport Cover, hope to raise a total of €300,000 (£260,000).

Sport Cover’s website lists Sala as a client.

Meanwhile, a petition launched in France to have the search resumed has now gathered more than 80,000 signatures.

Sala’s sister Romina has also said she is “convinced Emiliano and the pilot are alive somewhere in the channel”.

“We’re asking please don’t stop with this effort,” she said, during a visit to Cardiff.

Among those joining calls for the search to continue are Barcelona forward Lionel Messi .

Three planes and five helicopters racked up 80 hours combined flying time looking for the plane, working alongside two lifeboats and other passing ships.

Cardiff City tributes
Cardiff City fans have been leaving floral tributes outside the team’s stadium

Guernsey’s harbourmaster Captain David Barker has said the decision to call to call off the search was a “difficult” one, but the chances of survival were “extremely remote” and he was “absolutely confident” no more could have been done.

Peter Gill, the island’s former harbour master, said: “It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack when you don’t even know where the haystack is.

“You don’t know which road it’s in, you don’t know which parish it’s in, you don’t even know which county it’s in.”

He added that the sea off Alderney, where the plane lost contact, was anywhere between 50m (164m) to 140m (460ft) deep, with currents measuring up to five knots (6mph).

“It’s very cold and it’s also quite challenging in terms of currents and they are very, very seldom slack. The actual chance of getting down and finding something is very, very difficult indeed,” he said.

But diver Richard Keen, who often looks for shipwrecks in the Channel Islands said he thought there was a “fairly good chance of finding the aircraft”.

“All other aircraft which have ditched around Guernsey were found very quickly by crab pot fishermen. When they’re lifting their pots, they drag their pots across the seabed, they tangle in the aircraft,” he said.

“There’s about a 50% chance of finding it in the next three months.”

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch has begun an investigation which will look at “all operational aspects,” including licensing and flight plans.

The Piper PA-46 Malibu disappeared over the English Channel with Cardiff City’s new signing and Mr Ibbotson on board.

Mr Ibbotson of Crowle, Lincolnshire, held a private pilot’s licence and passed a medical exam as recently as November, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

Sala signed for the Bluebirds from Nantes on Saturday and was flying back to Wales from Nantes when the plane disappeared from radar.

At 19:15 GMT, Mr Ibbotson made a request to descend before losing contact with Jersey air traffic control.

Emiliano Sala (left) was on board a plane being flown by pilot David Ibbotson (right
Emiliano Sala was on board a plane bound for Cardiff from Nantes when it disappeared

Emiliano Sala: Cardiff City FC player on missing plane

By Emmanuel Justices

Premier League footballer Emiliano Sala was on a light aircraft which went missing over the Channel Islands.

The £15m Argentine striker, 28, was one of two people on board the Piper Malibu which lost contact off Alderney in the Channel Islands on Monday night.

Cardiff City,  which signed Sala from French club Nantes in a record deal on Saturday said it was “very shocked”.

Guernsey Police said there was “no trace” of the Cardiff-bound flight and his family said they felt “desperate”.

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Sala’s father, Horacio, told Argentine TV channel C5N, he heard the news from a friend.

“I didn’t know anything. I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I’m desperate. I hope everything goes well.”

Meanwhile, John Fitzgerald, chief officer of the Channel Islands Air Search, said the probability of finding anyone alive from the missing aircraft was “reducing very rapidly”.

Map showing location of Alderney and lighthouse
Map showing location of Alderney and lighthouse

“I think with the sea temperatures and the sea conditions the chances of finding anybody alive are reducing all the time,” he said.

“The sea temperatures are very, very cold and just sap the core temperature of anybody in the water very, very quickly.”

The plane left Nantes in north west France at 19:15 and had been flying at 5,000ft when it contacted Jersey air traffic control requesting descent, Guernsey Police said.

The plane lost contact while at 2,300ft and disappeared off radar near the Casquets lighthouse, infamous among mariners as the site of many shipwrecks, eight miles (13km) north-west of Alderney.

The force added UK authorities have been calling airfields on the south coast to see if it landed there but there had been no confirmations and a decision about an overnight search would be made at sunset.

Cardiff City signed the 28-year-old from French club Nantes

A spokesman for the French Civil Aviation Authority said the Piper PA 46 Malibu aircraft was French but had not been registered in France.

“We can confirm Emiliano Sala was on board,” he said.

“This morning, the French research started with one French national navy ship and one aircraft. The investigation will determined which authority will take the lead on the research.”

Sightings of red flares were reported during a lifeboat and helicopter search, but “nothing of significance was found”, a Channel Islands Air Search spokeswoman said.

Police said on Tuesday more than 1,150sq miles had been searched by five aircraft and two lifeboats. The search had resumed after being called off overnight “due to strengthening winds, worsening sea conditions and reducing visibility”.

Cardiff Airport confirmed the aircraft was due to arrive from Nantes but a spokeswoman said there were no further details.

Guernsey harbour master Captain David Barker said no distress call had been received and if the search continues into the night it is unlikely to have a good outcome.

“It’s far easier to see something on the surface in daylight,” he said. “We are looking for any traces of an aircraft, a life raft, persons in the water, life jackets.”

Flowers have been left outside the Cardiff City Stadium
Flowers have been left outside the Cardiff City Stadium

The Met Office said conditions were not “too intense” at the time the aircraft went missing but had become wetter and windier later in the evening.

John Fernandez, a reporter for BBC Guernsey, said it was a difficult area to search.

“A number of search vessels are out searching the area. It’s known for its strong currents – there are a number of shipwrecks,” he added.

“The search area is absolutely massive at the moment. They’re searching a number of different spots at the moment – they’re not sure whereabouts this plane might have gone down.”

‘Last goodbye’

Cardiff signed Sala for a club record fee after protracted negotiations with Nantes and he was due to join his new teammates for training on Tuesday. Training was cancelled.

In a statement, the club’s chief executive Ken Choo said they were praying for “positive news” for the player and pilot.

Emiliano Sala told Cardiff City he wanted to “start training and get down to work”

He added: “We were very shocked upon hearing the news that the plane had gone missing. We expected Emiliano to arrive last night into Cardiff and today was due to be his first day with the team.

“Our owner, Tan Sri Vincent Tan, and chairman, Mehmet Dalman, are all very distressed about the situation.”

He has been among the top scorers in France in recent years and had scored 13 league and cup goals this season, third behind Kylian Mbappe and Nicolas Pepe.

When his move to Cardiff was announced, he said: “It gives me great pleasure and I can’t wait to start training, meet my new teammates and get down to work.”

The most recent tweet from Sala’s account was a picture of him and his former team-mates, captioned “La ultima ciao”, or “the last goodbye”.

Sala began his playing career at Argentine side Club Proyecto Crecer, before moving to French club Girondins Bordeaux in 2012.

His previous side, Nantes, has postponed its games against Entente on Wednesday and St Etienne on Saturday, according to its match schedule.

Local journalist Arnaud Wajdzik said the atmosphere in Nantes is “very emotional”, and people planned to gather in the town square this evening for a vigil.

Reacting to the news at Cardiff City Stadium, Keith Morgan, chairman of the Cardiff City Supporters Trust, said he was shocked by the news.

“We’re obviously still hoping it’s not confirmed but when or if it is, we will contact Nantes offering all our help,” he said.

“I think fans realise what’s important and things like this put everything into perspective. Football is important in all our lives but not more than a person’s life.”

Supporter Christopher Jenkins, 45, of Caerphilly, said: “I was nearly crying with my wife – it’s a massive shock to everybody.”

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The alert at Southway is the second in the Creggan area of the city

Londonderry bombing: Third alert follows weekend attack

By Emmanuel Justices

The moment the bomb exploded on Saturday

Three separate security alerts are under way in Londonderry – 48 hours after a bomb exploded in the city.

The area around the courthouse in Bishop Street has now reopened following an explosion in a car on Saturday night.

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Police said four out of five men arrested in connection with the attack have been released unconditionally.

A 50-year-old man arrested earlier on Monday remains in police custody.

car being removed from scene of derry bomb
The remains of the bombed-out car are removed from Bishop Street on Monday night

The PSNI said Saturday’s attack may have been carried out by the New IRA, a dissident republican group.

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On Monday, the Army was called to two security alerts in the city involving reported hijackings.

Army bomb disposal officers carried out a controlled explosion in Creggan’s Circular Road after a vehicle was hijacked by three masked men at 11:30 GMT on Monday.

This House stands with Northern Ireland’

The second alert on Southway, also in Creggan, followed reports of a vehicle being hijacked by four masked men at 13:45 GMT.

Security cordons at the scene of both alerts have been reduced in the area to allow some residents who had been moved from their homes to return.

PSNI Supt Gordon McCalmont said the security alerts in Creggan “means even more disruption for the local community.”

Abandoned lorry on Northland Road in derry
A number of residents have been moved from their homes as police deal with an abandoned vehicle on the Northland Road

In a third incident, the police are responding to a report of an abandoned lorry on the Northland Road close to the Glenbank Road junction.

A number of residents have been moved from their homes. A nearby community centre has been opened to people who have been affected.

SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan said the area was largely populated by older people.

“When you see frail pensioners in their late 80s and 90s being forced to leave their homes in their dressing gowns, it really is despicable.

“There is a huge sense of anxiety right across the city, and a huge sense of anger right across the city and understandably so,” he said.

What is the New IRA?

  • The New IRA was formed in 2012 after a number of dissident republican organisations said they were unifying under one leadership
  • It is believed to be the largest dissident republican organisation
  • The group is believed to have been responsible for a number of attacks since its formation, including the murders of prison officers David Black and Adrian Ismay.

Mr Durkan added: “This is not serving any purpose, it’s not furthering any cause, and all it’s doing is causing disruption and destruction on our city.”

In a post on the PSNI Foyle Facebook page, police also confirmed “there has been an attempted hijacking of a local bus service” in the Galliagh area of the city”.

Saturday’s bomb exploded outside the city’s courthouse on Bishop Street shortly after a pizza delivery vehicle was hijacked at gun point.

A CCTV clip posted on Twitter by police showed a group of seven young people walking past the vehicle shortly before the blast.

A timeline of events leading up to the explosion in Derry

Addressing MPs in the Commons on Monday afternoon, Prime Minister Theresa May said: “This house stands together with the people of Northern Ireland in ensuring that we never go back to the violence and terror of the past.”

Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley told MPs those behind the attack “will never succeed”.

“Londonderry is a city that has thrived since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement 20 years ago – everyone can see that – and one that will continue to grow and develop despite the actions of those who seek to sow discord and division,” she said.

police cordon at southway in derry
The alert at Southway is the second in the Creggan area of the city

DUP leader Arlene Foster tweeted that the PSNI “needs our full support to remove those responsible from our streets”.

Sinn Féin councillor Kevin Campbell said there can be “no justification for this type of reckless activity”.

“Those responsible for this disruption have shown complete disregard for the people of Creggan, particularly elderly people who live in this area,” he said.

Houses were evacuated in the Creggan area

Courthouse closed

At the courthouse in Derry, scheduled jury trials have been put off until Wednesday.

Cases listed to be heard in the magistrate’s courts were being held in Strabane, with some other hearings switching to Coleraine.

Forensic officer at the scene of the explosion
A forensic officer examines the remains of the vehicle following Saturday night’s explosion

Driver ‘threatened and intimidated’

PSNI Supt Gordon McCalmont told BBC Radio Foyle the police were trying to get the city back to normal and show the attack had “little or no long-term impact”.

He said the PSNI was “lucky we are not talking about loss of life”.

Supt McCalmont also said the pizza delivery driver whose vehicle was hijacked and used in Saturday’s bombing “had to go through the drama of having a firearm put to his head”.

“He was threatened and intimidated. It would be fair to say he was asked not to raise the alarm.”

He added: “These groupings obviously want us to respond. We will be very balanced. This threat has always been in this city.

“My sense is that this is not because of Brexit.”

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Caerphilly family’s presents stolen on Christmas Eve


Carl Davies
Carl Davies said that they have received support from their neighbours

A family whose presents were stolen on Christmas Eve have described the loss as “heartbreaking”.

Carl Davies, from Rhymney, Caerphilly, said they were alerted when their neighbour shouted up the stairs that their door was open.

The family later noticed that their BMW had been stolen alongside the gifts, and the car was then found burnt out.

Gwent Police said they were investigating, although there had been no arrests.

Mr Davies said: “We’ve started to tally [the cost] up now and it’s way over £1,500 already.

“As you can appreciate, it’s not the monetary value, it’s the fact that it’s less than 24 hours before Christmas and everybody had worked hard all year to provide these presents – really thought about what they were going to buy.

“And that’s the really disappointing thing – how can people do that to you on Christmas Eve?”

The BMW was later found burnt out
The BMW was later found burnt out

The family said they had been amazed by the support of their neighbours who had given them presents and money.

“It’s really really humbling and renews your faith in mankind after something like that happens,” said Mr Davies.

“If there’s anything positive to come out of it, it’s the support we feel from the neighbours.”

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