A major search is underway after contact was lost with a light aircraft flying to the UK carrying Cardiff City’s new £15million signing Emiliano Sala.
The Argentinian striker, 28, was on the light aircraft, according to police sources in France.
He had only been announced as a new signing for the Premier League club on Saturday.
The Piper Malibu disappeared from radar near the Casquets lighthouse on Alderney in the Channel Islands. It has been missing since 8.30pm yesterday evening, according to Guernsey Police.
On passing Guernsey it ‘requested descent’, but Jersey air traffic control (ATC) lost contact with the plane while it was flying at 2,300ft.
The plane was due to fly from Nantes, France, to Cardiff – and now a land and sea search operation is underway to find the plane.
A coastguard rescue helicopter and crews from Alderney and Guernsey RNLI joined the search in the area around the lighthouse.
An update from Guernsey Police said: ‘The search was terminated at 02:00, with all search and rescue assets being stood down, due to strengthening winds, worsening sea conditions and reducing visibility. ‘At this time no trace of the missing aircraft had been found.’
Air Search 1 and a French rescue helicopter based in Cherbourg resumed the search of the area at 8am on Tuesday.
A photo posted on Sala’s Instagram account on Monday appears to show him with his Nantes team-mates and the caption includes the word “ciao”.
HM Coastguard said the disappearance was not in the UK search and rescue area, but it had also sent two helicopters to help.
A spokeswoman said they were assisting Guernsey Coastguard with a search for a light aircraft off Alderney: ‘HM Coastguard helicopters from Solent and Newquay have been helping to search overnight with nothing found.’ The Met Office said at the time the aircraft went missing ‘there were some showers around, but nothing too intense’.
News credit: MetroNews