'Growing concern': Massive search underway as striker Sala confirmed passenger on missing aircraft
French media are reporting that it has been confirmed that the Argentine was on board the single engine aircraft which took off from Nantes at 7:15pm local time.
Cardiff City, who announced their £15 million ($19.3million) record signing of the striker on Saturday, have said that they are "seeking clarification" on the incident, as the search for the missing plane and its passengers resumed early on Tuesday morning.
UPDATE Confirmed by police: Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala was in the Piper Malibu which disappeared from radar as he came to greet his former teammates at Nantes before flying to Cardiff https://t.co/8d78oCTADppic.twitter.com/XDxgs13XY1— AIRLIVE (@airlivenet) January 22, 2019
He had been due to attend his first training session with his new club on Tuesday morning. Searches were suspended in the early hours of Tuesday due to adverse weather conditions, as well as a dangerous seas and poor visibility.
Guernsey Police say that as of yet there is "no trace" of the aircraft which last made contact with air traffic control at an altitude of 2,300ft. The flight disappeared from radar 8 miles (13km) north-west of Alderney, the northernmost of the populated Channel Islands.
According to a Channel Islands Air Search spokeswoman, reports of red flares being shot into the sky were noted but that "nothing of significance was found."
Guernsey harbour master Captain David Barker said that no distress signal had been received from the aircraft, adding that there is a far greater chance of spotting it during daylight hours.
"It's far easier to see something on the surface in daylight," he said. "We are looking for any traces of an aircraft, a life raft, persons in the water, life jackets."
Aircraft Search: 10.20am update. There are currently two helicopters, two planes and one lifeboat searchingFurther information as it is available— Guernsey Police (@GuernseyPolice) January 22, 2019
While the disappearance did not happen on United Kingdom territory, HM Coastguard have confirmed that they have supplied two helicopters to assist in the search.
Sala's transfer to Premier League side Cardiff City came on the back of a successful first half of the season for Nantes in Ligue 1, where he was the third top scorer in the French top division with 13 goals in 18 appearances.
Cardiff chairman Mehmet Dalman said to the Mirror: "We are very concerned by the latest news that a light aircraft lost contact over the Channel last night.
"We are awaiting confirmation before we can say anything further. We are very concerned for the safety of Emiliano Sala."
The most recent post on his Twitter account was made early on Monday afternoon, in which he posted a picture of him and his former Nantes teammates accompanied by the text: "The last goodbye."