The French civil aviation authority says Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala was aboard a small passenger plane that went missing off the coast of the island of Guernsey.
- Reports suggest the high-profile Cardiff player was on the plane, but the star’s club has not confirmed this
- The plane lost contact with air traffic control after requesting to descend near Guernsey
- A search was temporarily halted due to severe weather
French and British maritime authorities are searching the English Channel for the plane.
Guernsey police said the flight left Monday evening from Nantes in France en route to Wales with two people aboard.
Air traffic control said the aircraft was flying at 5,000 feet but requested to descend as it passed Guernsey, before contact was lost as it dropped to 2,300ft.
“Indeed there was no distress call, it was simply lost from radar and from communications,” Guernsey harbourmaster Captain David Barker said.
“So it is possible that the aircraft has diverted somewhere else but we are continuing a search if in the unfortunate event it has actually ditched into the sea.”
A large-scale sea and air search was immediately launched but called off several hours later due to strong winds and worsening sea conditions.
The search resumed at first light on Tuesday morning, but police said no trace of the plane has been found.
“The weather conditions are better now but the seawater is not very warm,” Captain Barker said.
“I’m imagining that people in a light aircraft wouldn’t be wearing particularly warm clothing and so it is concerning because if they’re in the water their chances of surviving are diminishing all the time.”
The French regional maritime authority sent a helicopter to aid in the search.
The 28-year-old Sala, who has been playing for French club Nantes, signed for Premier League team Cardiff on Friday for a club record fee, around $27 million.
Yesterday Sala tweeted a farewell photo with his former FC Nantes teammates.
p class=”published”> First posted