Plane Carrying Cardiff City Striker Emiliano Sala Missing

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistJanuary 22, 2019

Nantes' Argentinian forward Emiliano Sala gestures during the French L1 football match Nantes vs Montpellier at the La Beaujoire stadium in Nantes, western France, on January 8, 2019. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)
LOIC VENANCE/Getty Images

New Cardiff City forward Emiliano Sala was on board a plane carrying him to the Welsh capital that went missing on Monday night off the coast of Guernsey.

As reported by HLN's Kristof Terreur on Tuesday, police sources told Agence-France Presse they believe the Argentinian was on board the flight from Nantes, where Sala had been playing prior to his move to Cardiff.

The French civil aviation authority confirmed Sala was on board, per Rob Harris of the Associated Press.

Guernsey Police issued a statement later on Tuesday saying they are still searching. It was added that if the plane "did land on the water, the chances of survival are at this stage, unfortunately, slim."

Sala's father, Horacio, told C5N (h/t Get French Football News) they are still hoping for good news: "I cannot believe it. I am desperate… I do not know what will happen… I hope that good news will come. My family knew nothing, I had to tell them. For him, like for us all, his transfer to Cardiff was a big step. He is a boy who has always fought hard. A humble boy.”

Cardiff City later issued a statement on Sala's status on the club website:

"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."

Waldemar Kita, the president of Nantes, also responded to the news of the plane's disappearance:

The French club were scheduled to face Entente and Saint-Etienne on Wednesday and Saturday, respectively, but have postponed the contest, per BBC Sport.

The 28-year-old striker signed for Cardiff on January 19 for what BBC Sport described as an "undisclosed record club fee." His Twitter account's heading has already been updated to show him posing with a Bluebirds shirt.

He also posted this tweet, saying goodbye to his old team-mates:

Sala joined Nantes from Bordeaux in 2015 and blossomed into a productive striker in the Pays de la Loire. In 19 Ligue 1 appearances this season, he bagged 12 goals and was the league's third-highest scorer at the time of his departure.

Cardiff are stuck in the relegation zone and have scored just 19 Premier League goals so far, tied for the second-worst mark in the division.

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