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  1. ITV Report

'Still no trace' of missing plane carrying Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala

Emiliano Sala Credit: PA

The search for the missing plane which was carrying the new Cardiff striker Emiliano Sala has been suspended for the night.

Guernsey Police said "no trace" of the plane was found after a second day of searching. A decision on whether to recommence will be taken early on Thursday morning.

The pilot of the plane has also been named as Dave Ibbotson, from North Lincolnshire.

The search and rescue operation included multiple air and sea assets from the Channel Islands, UK and France.

Earlier today, Guernsey Police confirmed nearly 300sq. miles had been searched since dawn, but nothing had been found.

"280sq. miles of our targeted search pattern using multiple aircraft from the Channel Islands, France and U.K. has been completed over the last five hours. There is as yet no trace today of the missing aircraft".

Crews conducted a search of more than 1,000 miles of water in the English Channel

It added chances of finding Sala alive are "slim" if the plane landed on water.

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority said the plane is "unlikely" to have been fitted with a black box.

So-called black boxes which record flight data and cockpit audio are mandatory in airliners and business jets, and are a vital tool for crash investigators.

But they are not mandatory for light aircraft such as the US-registered Piper Malibu plane which went missing over the Channel on Monday night.

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Emiliano Sala had just agreed a £15m deal to join Cardiff City Credit: Cardiffcityfc.co.uk

Reports from Argentinian media claim Sala left a Whatsapp voice message for friends while on the plane bound for Cardiff, saying he was "getting scared" and "aboard a plane that seems like it is is falling to pieces".

The UK's Air Accidents Investigation Branch has confirmed it is investigating the loss of the aircraft.

It said in a statement: "On Monday night, a US-registered Piper PA-46-310P Malibu aircraft (registration N264DB) was lost from radar north of Guernsey.

"The aircraft was en route from Nantes, France, to Cardiff, United Kingdom, with one pilot and one passenger on board.

"In accordance with international protocols, the AAIB is investigating the loss of the aircraft.

"We will be gathering all the available evidence to conduct a thorough investigation. However, if the aircraft is not found it is likely to limit the scope of the investigation."

What do we know about the disappearance?

According to Guernsey Police, the Piper PA-46 Malibu, a single turbine engine aircraft carrying two people, departed Nantes at 7.15pm for the Welsh capital 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.

Sala, 28, was on his way back to Wales after saying goodbye to his Nantes team-mates on Monday night. He tweeted a photograph with them on Monday afternoon.

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On Tuesday, Cardiff's executive director Ken Choo said he was saddened by the news.

Choo described Sala as a "great person" and revealed he had been "so happy" to sign for Cardiff.

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Sala had signed a three-and-a-half year deal with the Welsh club after scoring 12 Ligue 1 goals in 19 appearances this season.

Nantes president Waldemar Kita added on the French club's website: "I'll always have hope, he's a fighter. It's not over, maybe he's somewhere."

Nantes' Coupe de France clash with third-tier Entente Sannois, scheduled for Wednesday evening, has been postponed until Sunday while their Ligue 1 fixture against St Etienne - originally due to take place on Saturday - has been moved to Wednesday, January 30.

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