PARIS (Reuters) – Cardiff City’s new soccer star, Emiliano Sala, was on board a light-weight plane that disappeared en path to the Welsh capital for his membership debut, France’s civil aviation authority mentioned on Tuesday.
Sala was flying from the French metropolis of Nantes to Cardiff when the plane misplaced radar contact off the English Channel island of Guernsey late on Monday.
Rescue plane and boats had searched greater than 1,000 sq. miles (2,590 sq. km) of sea for the single-engine Piper Malibu by noon on Tuesday, however “no trace of the missing aircraft had been found,” Guernsey police mentioned.
The 28-year-old Argentine-born ahead joined struggling Cardiff City from FC Nantes final week for a membership report charge of about 17 million euros ($19 million).
Argentine newspaper Clarin revealed a voice message that Sala apparently despatched to buddies.
“We’re up in the plane and it seems it’s about to crash,” mentioned the message, which Clarin mentioned was verified by Sala’s father, Horacio Sala.
“If you have not heard anything from me in an hour and a half, I don’t know if they’re going to send someone to find me, because, you know, they’re not going to be able to,” the message mentioned. “Dad. I’m really scared.”
Sala had performed in France since 2012.
“We expected Emiliano to arrive last night into Cardiff and today was due to be his first day with the team,” membership Chief Executive Ken Choo mentioned in a press release. “We continue to pray for positive news.” Tuesday’s coaching session was known as off.
“The management and the whole club are staying hopeful and the whole FC Nantes family is praying for Emiliano Sala and the other passengers to be found safe and sound,” Nantes mentioned in a press release.
British authorities contacted airfields alongside the coast to test if the plane had made an unplanned touchdown, however there was no signal it had, Guernsey police mentioned.
The plane had been cruising at 5,000 ft (1,525 m) when the pilot requested to descend to a decrease altitude on passing Guernsey. It misplaced radar contact at 2,300 ft (700 m), the police mentioned.
John Fitzgerald, chief govt of Channel Islands Air Search, mentioned: “From what I collect, nothing has been seen as but. If they’re carrying the appropriate dry fits or they acquired right into a life raft, then the chance isn’t too dangerous.
“If they’re within the water with none safety, the water is absolutely too chilly for the time being for any type of survival past an hour or so,” Fitzgerald advised Sky TV.
Horacio Sala advised Argentine TV channel C5N: “I didn’t know anything because I’m away from home, I’m a truck driver. A friend who saw it on TV told me. I’m in despair.”
Julio Muller, the mayor of Progreso, the small city within the farming province of Santa Fe the place Sala grew up, advised Clarin on-line: “The town is in shock. The only thing we were talking about was his transfer.”
Daniel Rivero, president of Sala’s first membership, San Martin de Progreso, advised radio LT9 he was “hoping for some kind of a miracle.”
Sala scored 12 objectives for Nantes this season.
France’s soccer federation postponed Nantes’ French Cup last-32 recreation in opposition to Entente Sannois-Saint Gratien that had been scheduled for Wednesday.
Sala on Monday tweeted a photograph of himself bidding farewell to his Nantes teammates, saying: “The last one. Ciao @FCNantes.”
Reporting by Richard Lough and Emmanuel Jarry; Additional reporting by Julie Carriat and Julien Pretot in Paris, Michael Holden in London and Walter Bianchi and Gabriel Burin in Buenos Aires; Writing by John Irish and Richard Lough; Editing by Robin Pomeroy and Peter Cooney