Emiliano Sala, a professional soccer player who had just signed a contract with Premier League club Cardiff City FC, has gone missing after the plane he was traveling on disappeared from radar off the coast of Guernsey.
According to reports, Sala — a 28-year-old who had just signed a record three-year, $23.2 million deal to go from FC Nantes to Cardiff City — was on a flight from Nantes to Wales with two other people when the flight disappeared from radar.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Channel Islands Air Search chief officer John Fitzgerald said that they “just don’t know how it disappeared” and that he is not expecting anyone to be alive.
“After all this time, the weather’s quite cold, the water is very cold out there … I am not expecting anyone to be alive. We just don’t know how it disappeared at the end of yesterday. It just completely vanished,” Fitzgerald said.
Additionally, the Guernsey Police said that “the chances of survival are at this stage are slim.”
Sala was expected to complete his first day of training as a Cardiff FC player on Tuesday, January 22.
Cardiff City Executive Director & CEO Ken Choo released the following statement in behalf of the cub, who called off the team’s scheduled training on Tuesday, January 22:
“We were very shocked upon hearing the news that the plane had gone missing. We expected Emiliano to arrive last night into Cardiff and today was due to be his first day with the team.
Our owner, Tan Sri Vincent Tan, and chairman, Mehmet Dalman, are all very distressed about the situation. We made the decision first thing this morning to call off training with the thoughts of the squad, management staff and the entire Club with Emiliano and the pilot.
All of us at Cardiff City FC would like to thank our fans, and the entire footballing family for their support at this difficult time. We continue to pray for positive news.”
After 15 hours of searching, the search for the plane was called off on Tuesday night and is expected to resume on the morning of Wednesday, January 23.
On Monday evening, Sala posted a picture on social media that showed him alongside his former FC Nantes teammates with a caption that read “the last goodbye.”