FOOTIE star Emiliano Sala’s doomed plane failed to take off properly FOUR times before it vanished off the radar, The Sun can reveal.
The new Cardiff City signing, 28, and the pilot are both feared dead after the small private plane disappeared over the English Channel on Monday.
Nantes pal Nicolas Pallois said Sala, Cardiff’s record signing at £15million, told him his trip there was “bumpy and he feared for his safety” on the return to Wales.
Sources in France also said the pilot only managed to take off at 7.15pm on Monday after up to four attempts.
Sala was being flown from Nantes in France to Cardiff – where he was due to start training – when he voiced his fears to pals about the “bumpy ride”.
He sent WhatsApp voice messages to his pals while he was in the air where he said he was worried the plane may “fall apart”, Argentinian newspaper Ole reported.
Sala later sent another message saying: “If you do not have any more news from in an hour and a half, I don’t know if they need to send someone to find me… I am getting scared!”
The single turbine-engined Piper PA-46 Malibu had been flying at 5,000ft but Jersey air traffic controllers said it requested to descend and was at 2,300ft when it vanished at 8.30pm near Alderney.
Last night, as emergency services suspended their search, there were unconfirmed reports orange seating material had been found.
Cardiff supporters left tributes at the ground and chief executive Ken Choo said: “We would like to thank our fans, and the entire footballing family, for their support at this difficult time. We pray for positive news.”
Nantes boss Waldemar Kita said Sala was “polite, kind and loved by everyone
Speaking in Rosario, Argentina, Sala’s mum Mercedes said: “The plane is from the president of Cardiff. They informed us the plane had disappeared and they were looking for it.”
Her trucker husband Horatio added: “We are desperate.”
Sala, believed to have turned down a mega-money offer to play in China, had said on Saturday: “I can’t wait to meet my new teammates and get down to work.”
Cardiff cancelled their training session yesterday while Nantes postponed their next match from today until the weekend.