26/01/2019 13:00 GMT

Emiliano Sala: Nearly £130,000 Raised Towards Private Search After Rescue Operation Called Off

Premier League footballers have donated as Sala's family call for a continued search for the striker.

Nearly 150,000 euros has been raised towards a private search for a missing plane which was carrying Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala.

The Argentine striker was travelling to the Welsh capital when his plane lost contact and disappeared over the Channel islands on Monday night.

After three days, officials called off the search for the 28-year-old and pilot David Ibbotson, 59, on Thursday after the authorities scoured hundreds of miles of the English Channel in search of wreckage.

Argentina’s president Mauricio Macri is among those, including Sala’s family, calling for the search to resume.

A number of Premier League players have donated to the page including Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan, helping it to near its 150,000 Euro (£130,000) target in 24 hours.

A message from Sport Cover, the organisers of the page, read: “This fund was created in response to the urgency of the situation and the authorities’ decision not to pursue the research. Its sole objective, through a specialized non-profit organization, is to help the family of Emiliano and pilot Dave Ibbotson continue the research.

“Thank you for helping with the amount you want.”

Separately, more than 80,000 people have signed a petition urging the continuation of search and rescue operations.

“Clubs and football supporters are requesting that search for Emiliano Sala and pilot continue for their families and their loved ones,” a message left by petition organiser, Adrien Bonnet, read.

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

Supporters and fellow players have appealed for the search to continue, using the hashtag #NoDejenDeBuscar (don’t stop searching).