Guernsey Police have suspended the search for Emiliano Sala, with the force having so far found “no signs of those on board” an aircraft on which the Cardiff City striker was travelling.
The French Civil Aviation Authority confirmed on Tuesday that the 28-year-old was on a plane that had gone missing while travelling from Nantes to Cardiff late on Monday.
Sala, who was confirmed as Cardiff’s record signing on Saturday after opting to leave Ligue 1 side Nantes, is said to have been one of two people on an aircraft that disappeared while crossing the English Channel.
Search and rescue teams searched for Sala throughout Tuesday but Guernsey Police confirmed in a statement that operations would not take place through the night.
“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 force’s statement said.
“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. There will be no further updates tonight.”
Search and rescue operations have been suspended as the sun has now set.
The current plan is for it to resume at sunrise tomorrow.
There will be no further updates tonight.
— Guernsey Police (@GuernseyPolice) January 22, 2019
Fans have begun to lay tributes to Sala outside Cardiff City Stadium, while a rally will be held by Nantes supporters on Tuesday.
Nantes’ Coupe de France fixture against Entente SSG, which was set to be played on Wednesday, has been postponed.
— FC Nantes (@FCNantes) January 22, 2019
Cardiff chief executive Ken Choo also gave an update on the Sala situation to Sky News.
“He’s such a great person, he was so happy to join Cardiff City, you can see from his place that he is so happy to be here and so ready to start,” Choo said.
“Words cannot describe the look on his face when he met us and we walked him around the ground. He was absolutely ready to give it a go and we knew him then and we really feel sad to hear of this news because he is such a great person.
“You could see the happiness on his face when he signed for Cardiff, it was one of the best days of his life. We are very sad and we’d like to thank all the people who are supporting us today, we have received lots of messages.
“We’ve had support from the Premier League executives as well but we are just waiting for information like everyone else with the authorities on whereabouts the plane is and the circumstances.
— Pablo Zabaleta (@pablo_zabaleta) January 22, 2019
“When we get some news we will convey it from the club but we have a lot of supporters who are very concerned and we understand that, we are too.
“We are just waiting for them [the authorities] to inform us and we are trying to communicate with them as well. We’re trying to reach the agent of the player, the family as well because we are very concerned. We’d like to reach out to the family because it’s a tough time for them. We just want to know if he’s okay and if the pilot’s okay and where the plane is.”
Sala’s former Nantes manager Claudio Ranieri – now at Fulham – also paid tribute to the striker, lauding his character and “wishing” for good news.
“I was devastated to hear the news,” the Italian said on Tuesday. “Emiliano is a wonderful character. He’s a fighter.
“The world of football will be united in wishing for some positive news. I pray for Emiliano and his family.”
“I was devastated to hear the news. Emiliano is a wonderful character. He’s a fighter. The world of football will be united in wishing for some positive news. I pray for Emiliano and his family.” – Claudio Ranieri#PrayForSala pic.twitter.com/koBQt12s09
— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) January 22, 2019
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