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A plane carrying new Cardiff City signing Emiliano Sala went missing over the English Channel on Monday.

By Scooby Axson
January 22, 2019

A plane carrying Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala and another passenger is missing off the Channel Islands near France, the French civil aviation authority said.

According to multiple reports, Sala and another unidentified person were aboard a Piper Malibu plane before it lost contact off Alderney on Monday night.

Guernsey authorities said the plane originated from Nantes and was en route to Wales, with the search resuming Tuesday morning with no trace of the plane being found after French and British maritime searched the English Channel for the plane.

"So far over 1,000 square miles have been searched by a total of five aircraft and two lifeboats. It is being co-ordinated by the Joint Emergency Services Control Centre," Guernsey police said. "There has been no trace of the aircraft. The search is continuing."

Cardiff City released a statement from club CEO Ken Choo, which read: "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.

"We made the decision first thing this morning to call off training with the thoughts of the squad, management staff and the entire club with Emiliano and the pilot. All of us at Cardiff City FC would like to thank our fans, and the entire footballing family for their support at this difficult time. We continue to pray for positive news."

While the search continues and hope is maintained, search officials are not anticipating there to be any survivors.

"I am not expecting anyone to be alive. I don't think the coastguard are either. We just don't know how it disappeared," Channel Islands Airsearch chief officer John Fitzgerald told the Associated Press.

Later Tuesday, Guernsey police updated the status of its search, which it called off for the day after the sun set.

"During the course of the 15-hour search, which used multiple air and sea assets from the Channel Islands, UK and France, a number of floating objects have been seen in the water," the police stated. "We have been unable to confirm whether any of these are from the missing aircraft. We have found no signs of those on board. If they did land on the water, the chances of survival are at this stage, unfortunately, slim. ... Search and rescue operations have been suspended as the sun has now set. The current plan is for it to resume at sunrise tomorrow."

Sala, 28, was signed last weekend for a record fee £17m fee from French club Nantes. He has scored 42 goals for the squad since the 2015-16 season, including 12 goals in 19 appearances for Nantes in France’s Ligue 1 this season.

Fans gathered in Nantes on Tuesday, singing his name in tribute:

Nantes postponed its Coupe de France match scheduled for Wednesday and pushed it back to Sunday in response to the incident.

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