Channel Search For Missing Plane

French officials have confirmed Cardiff City's new signing Emiliano Sala was on a light aircraft which went missing over the English Channel last night.

A major search operation is underway north of Alderney.

Sala was reportedly onboard the plane when it lost contact with Jersey Air Traffic Control at 8.23pm.

The Alderney lifeboat was launched at 8.50pm to scour an area north of Alderney for the Piper Malibu plane.

The Guernsey lifeboat and two UK Coastguard helicopters were also helping in the search.

Air Traffic Control has confirmed the aircraft was travelling from Nantes in western France to Cardiff when it went missing.

French police and Nantes FC have confirmed that new Cardiff City signing Sala was onboard.  The 28 year old signed for the Welsh club on Saturday.

12 hours into the search Guernsey Police said:

"The PA 46 Malibu, a single turbine engine aircraft was on route from Nantes in France, to Cardiff in Wales, with two people on board when it was lost off radar as Jersey ATC was attempting to make contact.

A search model was created on SARIS, based on the likely ditching position, and all search and rescue assets were tasked to the area.

The search was terminated at 02:00, with all search and rescue assets being stood down, due to strengthening winds, worsening sea conditions and reducing visibility.

At this time no trace of the missing aircraft had been found.

Air Search 1 and a French rescue helicopter based in Cherbourg, resumed the search of the area at 08:00"

HM Coastguard said the incident was not in the UK search and rescue area, although it confirmed it had sent two helicopters to help.

"HM Coastguard are currently assisting Guernsey Coastguard with a search for a light aircraft off Alderney in the Channel Islands," a spokeswoman said.

"HM Coastguard helicopters from Solent and Newquay have been helping to search overnight with nothing found."

Met Office meteorologist Mark Wilson said: "At that time there were some showers around, but nothing too intense. Wind speeds were not too bad - average speeds were around 15 to 20mph.

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