The French civil aviation authority has said Cardiff City’s record £18 million signing Emiliano Sala was aboard a small passenger plane that went missing off the coast of the island of Guernsey.
French and British maritime authorities are searching the English Channel for the plane.
Guernsey police say the flight left Monday evening from Nantes en route to Wales with two people aboard. Police say the search resumed Tuesday morning and that no trace has been found. The French regional maritime authority sent a search helicopter.
The Guernsey Coastguard received an alert shortly after 8 p.m. GMT on Monday they had lost contact with Jersey Air Traffic Control after requesting to descend while passing Guernsey.
“At this time no trace of the missing aircraft had been found,” Guernsey police said.
A statement from Cardiff City chairman Mehmet Dalman released on Tuesday morning read: “We are very concerned by the latest news that a light aircraft lost contact over the Channel last night.”
Nantes, Sala’s former club, did not immediately comment. Nantes’ French Cup last-32 game against Entente Sannois-Saint Gratien, orignally set for Jan. 23, was also postponed until Sunday, Jan. 27.
A statement on the Entente Sannois-Saint Gratien website read: “Entente Sannois-Saint Gratien sends all its support to FC Nantes as well as Emiliano Sala’s family at this hard time. The club’s thoughts are also with those people present on board the plane.”
— Emiliano Sala (@EmilianoSala1) 21 January 2019
Sala, 28, tweeted his farewell to Nantes on Monday, along with a picture with his former colleagues.
Sala first arrived in France in 2010 when his potential was spotted by Bordeaux, who had him on their books for five years. He spent three spells out on loan, including half a season at Caen that convinced Nantes to sign him in the summer of 2015. He scored 36 times in 89 top-flight games for Les Canaris, including 12 this season, before signing for Cardiff.
Information from Reuters, Ian Holyman and Aramide Oladipo contributed to this report