Football | Emiliano Sala on board missing plane

Football | Emiliano Sala on board missing plane
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Emiliano Sala was on board a flight that went missing off Alderney last night.

The 28-year-old striker – who had just signed for Cardiff City from Nantes – was on the flight which went missing near the Channel Islands last night as he made the flight from Nantes to Cardiff.

Sala was confirmed as the Premier League club’s record signing on Saturday for a reported £15 million fee, after having his medical and posing for pictures at Cardiff City Stadium on Friday.

The Argentinian flew back to Nantes on Sunday to bid farewell to his friends and teammates, and boarded a Piper Malibu light aircraft last night with the aim of returning to the Welsh capital.

The flight took off at 19:15, but went missing off Alderney – located near the Channel Islands – at around 20:30.

Sala was one of two people on board.

According to today’s report, the plane contacted Jersey air traffic control requesting permission to descent, but lost contact at 2,500 feet.

Searches for the plane were abandoned at 02:00 due to worsening weather and reduced visibility, but resumed at eight o’clock this morning, and is currently ongoing.

While the search is ongoing, officials aren’t expecting to find any survivors.

“We are not expecting anyone to be alive,” chief executive of the Channel Islands Air Search John Fitzgerald told the Associated Press.

“I don’t think the coastguard are either. We just don’t know how it disappeared.”

Nantes have confirmed that their match tomorrow – a cup tie at third-tier outfit L’Entente SSG – has been rescheduled for Sunday out of respect for Sala.

The club have also encouraged fans to attend a rally for their former striker tonight at the Place Royale in Nantes.

The Argentina forward had been in excellent form for the French club this season, netting 12 goals in 16 Ligue 1 matches. He joined the French club in 2015 after catching the eye at Caen, and scored 42 goals for the club in total.

Cardiff have also cancelled today’s training session, which was due to be Sala’s first with his new teammates, and are in contact with French authorities regarding the search.

“We were very shocked upon hearing the news that the plane had gone missing,” Cardiff’s executive director and CEO Ken Choo said in a statement earlier today.

“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.”

Today’s search has since been called off, and Guernsey’s harbourmaster Captain David Barker says the search “will get to the point where it’s impossible”.

“It gets to the point where it’s impossible, even with unlimited resources to search that area,” he said.

“The weather forecast for tomorrow is not as good as today, so we will be making a very difficult decision in the morning whether we can carry on with the search or not.”