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Emiliano Sala: Search for Cardiff City FC player’s plane to resume

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Emiliano Sala was returning to Cardiff after signing for the club on the weekend

The search for a missing aircraft that was carrying Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala will resume at sunrise.

The Argentine striker, 28, was one of two people on board the plane which lost contact off Alderney in the Channel Islands on Monday night.

Five aircraft and two lifeboats scoured more than 1,000 sq miles for traces of the Piper Malibu plane on Tuesday.

Sala was heading to the Welsh capital after signing for the Bluebirds from French club Nantes in a £15m deal.

Cardiff’s chief executive said the club had been left in “shock”.

Air and sea crews from the Channel Islands, France and the UK took part in a 15-hour search on Tuesday, but found no trace of the aircraft or its occupants.

Guernsey Police was not able to confirm if floating objects seen belonged to the aircraft and warned that chances of passenger survival were “slim”.

“We have found no signs of those on board,” the force tweeted. “If they did land on the water, the chances of survival are at this stage, unfortunately, slim.”

Sala’s father Horacio told Argentine TV channel C5N he was “desperate”.

On Tuesday night, football fans in Nantes laid flowers at a fountain as a tribute to Sala and the plane’s pilot.

After joining in 2015, he had scored 48 goals for the Ligue 1 side.

French sports newspaper L’Equipe carried the news of Sala’s plight on its front page on Wednesday with the headline: “The disappearance of a warrior”.

It wrote: “In Nantes, the wait has been unbearable for the supporters of a forward loved for his battling qualities.”

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Nantes fans gathered in the city to pay tribute to their former striker

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Map showing location of Alderney and lighthouse

The single-turbine engine plane left Nantes, in north-west France, at 19:15 on Monday and had been flying at 5,000ft when it contacted Jersey air traffic control requesting descent.

It lost contact while at 2,300ft and disappeared off radar near the Casquets lighthouse, infamous among mariners as the site of many shipwrecks, eight miles (13km) north-west of Alderney.

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