Search resumes for missing plane carrying Cardiff footballer

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Rescue workers have resumed their search for the plane carrying Cardiff City’s new signing Emiliano Sala that went missing over the English Channel, Guernsey Police said.

Two planes took off on Wednesday morning to search a “targeted area” where there is the “highest likelihood” of finding anything based on a review of tides and the weather.

Coastal areas around Alderney and off-lying rocks and islands will also be searched from the air, police said.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

In the recording the footballer says he is “getting scared” and “aboard a plane that seems like it is falling to pieces”.

Guernsey Police said rescue workers were prioritising their search area around the possibility the plane landed on water and its life raft was used.

Three other possibilities being considered include that the plane landed elsewhere but was yet to make contact; that it landed on water and the two occupants were picked up by a ship but were yet to get in touch; or the plane broke up when hitting the water leaving the pair in the sea.

Rescue workers are also reviewing satellite imagery and mobile phone data to aid the search.

The single-turbine engine Piper PA-46 Malibu, carrying the footballer and his pilot, has been missing since it disappeared off radar on Monday night.

It left Nantes at 7.15pm for Cardiff, and after requesting to descend, lost contact with Jersey air traffic control.

Five aircraft and two lifeboats have searched more than 1,000 square miles of sea but found “no trace” of the plane.

Guernsey Police said the chances of survival were “slim”.

Sala was signed by Premier League strugglers Cardiff for a club record £15 million to bolster their attack and was due to start training on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old posted a picture with his former Nantes team-mates on Monday captioned “the last goodbye” before flying to Wales.

Sala’s father Horacio told Argentinian news channel C5N he felt “desperate” since learning his son’s plane was missing.

The club’s chairman Mehmet Dalman, who is in France, told BBC Radio Wales on Wednesday:  “We will not leave a single stone unturned until we have all the facts.”

He confirmed that the club had not booked the plane for the trip adding that Sala had “made his own arrangements”.

Nantes’ next Coupe de France match was postponed and fans gathered in the city’s Place Royale on Tuesday night to sing songs and lay tributes.

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