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Search for missing plane carrying Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala suspended for the night

French authorities have confirmed that new Cardiff City player Emiliano Sala was on board the plane. Credit: Premier League

The search for a missing plane carrying Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala was suspended on Tuesday evening after rescue crews scoured more than 1,000 miles of water in the English Channel.

The striker was on board a light aircraft with one other person when it disappeared off radar on Monday evening.

A number of objects have been seen in the water during the search but Guernsey Police said it is currently unable to confirm if the objects are that of the missing aircraft.

Five aircraft and two lifeboats spent all day on Tuesday searching waters on the north coast of Alderney in the Channel Islands.

John Fitzgerald from Channel Island's Air Search said they don't know what they might find:

"It could be oil in the water, it could be people in life rafts, it could be pieces of aircraft - I honestly don't know.

"If they are in the water then I wouldn't like to hold out too much hope for them sadly."

The Alderney lifeboat said it launched at 8.50pm on Monday night. Credit: PA

Guernsey Harbourmaster, Captain David Barker said it would be difficult to survive in the water because of the cold temperatures.

"I doubt very much whether they were wearing survival gear and the water's just above 10 degrees at the moment so that doesn't give you very long before you start to freeze up."

What else is known about the plane's disappearance?

Guernsey Police said the Piper PA-46 Malibu, a single turbine engine aircraft carrying two people, departed Nantes at 7.15pm for Cardiff and was flying at an altitude of 5,000ft.

On passing Guernsey it "requested descent", but Jersey air traffic control (ATC) lost contact with the plane while it was flying at 2,300ft.

Guernsey Coastguard received an alert at 8.23pm from Jersey ATC that a light aircraft had gone off their radar approximately 15 miles north of Guernsey.

People left football scarves and flowers at the Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday evening Credit: Rhys Andrews

What has been the reaction in Cardiff?

People came to lay tributes to Sala at the Cardiff City stadium throughout the day on Tuesday.

The Argentine striker signed a three and-a-half year deal for Cardiff City from FC Nantes for an undisclosed club record fee on January 19.

He said he "couldn't wait" to start training.

Ken Choo, Chief Executive of Cardiff City said the whole club is praying for Emiliano Sala and that they were "very sad" after hearing that the plane he was travelling on had disappeared.

Emiliano Sala and Ken Choo pictured when he signed for Cardiff City. Credit: Cardiff City

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.

– Ken Choo, Cardiff City Chief Executive

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What has been the reaction abroad?

Sala went back to visit his old teammates at FC Nantes to say goodbye to them after announcing his signing with the Bluebirds.

Speaking to ITV News, French journalist Arnaud Wajdzik, said that Sala was accompanied to the airport by defender Nicolas Pallois who was "without a doubt the last player to see him alive."

On Tuesday evening, Nantes fans and supporters gathered at Place Royal to lay yellow flowers in what was an emotional night for them at Emiliano Sala's former football club.

Sala began his career by playing for Club Proyecto Crece.

In a statement to ITV News, the club said they are "dismayed."

Emiliano joined Club Proyecto Crece at the age of fifteen. Credit: Club Proyecto Crece Statement

We are very dismayed, we have known Emi since he was 15 years old.

Emiliano arrived at 15 years old at our training centre.

We are dismayed, we know Emiliano since he is a young man, we are waiting for news.

– Club Proyecto Crece Statement

After several years in Argentina, he was snapped up by French club Bordeaux in 2010.

He was then sent out on a series of loans to Orleans, Niort and Caen and after failing to make more than a handful of appearances for Bordeaux, Sala joined Nantes in 2015.

It was in Brittany that his career began to flourish.

The 28-year-old has scored 13 league and cup goals this season in France - making him the third-top scorer in Ligue 1 behind Kylian Mbappe and Nicolas Pepe.

Sala's hat-trick against Toulouse in October 2018 was the first by any Nantes player in Ligue 1 since 2006.

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