Alexa

Emotional funeral for Sala held in his Argentine hometown

Mercedes Taffarel, mother of Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala, right, is comfort by Nantes defender Nicolas Pallois during de burial of Emiliano ...
The car carrying the remains of Emiliano Sala leaves Progreso, Argentina, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019. The Argentina-born forward died in an airplane cras...
Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock, left, comforts Emiliano Sala's father, Horacio Sala at the cemetery in Santa Fe, Argentina, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019...
Mercedes Taffarel, mother of Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala, right, is comfort by Nantes defender Nicolas Pallois during de burial of Emiliano ...
Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock, second righ, and Cardiff City CEO Ken Choo, right, applaud during the burial of Emiliana Sala, at the cemetery in S...
Neighbors of Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala, wait for his remains to depart for Santa Fe after his wake in Progreso, Argentina, Saturday, Feb. ...
Children wait for soccer player Emiliano Sala's coffin to depart for Santa Fe, after his wake in Progreso, Argentina, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019. The Arg...
Relatives and friends of Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala mourn after his wake in Progreso, Argentina, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019. The Argentina-bor...
Relatives and friends of Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala cry after his wake in Progreso, Argentina, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019. The Argentina-born ...
Romina Sala, the sister Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala, cries at the end of her brother's wake in Progreso, Argentina, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019....

Mercedes Taffarel, mother of Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala, right, is comfort by Nantes defender Nicolas Pallois during de burial of Emiliano ...

The car carrying the remains of Emiliano Sala leaves Progreso, Argentina, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019. The Argentina-born forward died in an airplane cras...

Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock, left, comforts Emiliano Sala's father, Horacio Sala at the cemetery in Santa Fe, Argentina, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019...

Mercedes Taffarel, mother of Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala, right, is comfort by Nantes defender Nicolas Pallois during de burial of Emiliano ...

Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock, second righ, and Cardiff City CEO Ken Choo, right, applaud during the burial of Emiliana Sala, at the cemetery in S...

Neighbors of Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala, wait for his remains to depart for Santa Fe after his wake in Progreso, Argentina, Saturday, Feb. ...

Children wait for soccer player Emiliano Sala's coffin to depart for Santa Fe, after his wake in Progreso, Argentina, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019. The Arg...

Relatives and friends of Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala mourn after his wake in Progreso, Argentina, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019. The Argentina-bor...

Relatives and friends of Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala cry after his wake in Progreso, Argentina, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019. The Argentina-born ...

Romina Sala, the sister Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala, cries at the end of her brother's wake in Progreso, Argentina, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019....

PROGRESSO, Argentina (AP) — Family, friends, supporters and former teammates paid tribute to striker Emiliano Sala in his small Argentine hometown on Saturday, almost four weeks after he died when the plane he was in crashed into the English Channel.

The 28-year-old Sala's body received a hero's welcome in Progreso where much of the grieving population paid their last respects to their soccer idol before the body was taken away for cremation.

"It is something that I still cannot understand or accept because it hurts so much," said Progreso resident Lucia Torres, who was in tears. "My town shut down on Jan. 21 and remains shut down to this day."

Sala was the best-known figure from Progreso, a town of several thousand inhabitants in Argentina's Santa Fe province, and was adored by many. He had been known since childhood here as "Emi."

A post-mortem found that Sala died from injuries to his head and torso when his plane crashed in the channel.

The single-engine aircraft was flying from the French city of Nantes to Cardiff where Sala was due to start a new career playing for the Welsh capital's Premier League club. Among those in attendance at Saturday's funeral were Cardiff City's manager Neil Warnock and his Nantes teammate Nicolas Pallois.

Sala's body was recovered from the seabed wreckage last week but the plane's pilot is still missing. Authorities have said that the Air Accidents Investigation Branch investigation could take up to 12 months. A pre-inquest review hearing was set for Nov. 6.

"The truth is I understand little of all this. I would like to find out who was responsible, that someone would tell me 'this is what happened,' but fate seems to have led us to this," Sala's aunt, Mirta Taffarel, told local media amid tears.

Sala's body was flown to Argentina and arrived in Buenos Aires on Friday before being driven to Progreso, where Sala grew up.


Updated : 2021-03-06 19:23 GMT+08:00