Emiliano Sala missing plane search resumes in coastal areas
Last Updated: 24/01/19 3:30pm
The search for the plane carrying Cardiff striker Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson continued on Thursday morning.
Guernsey Police confirmed at 7.50am on Thursday: "We are commencing a coastal search using be[sic] Channel Islands Air Search plane of Burhou, the Casquets, Alderney, the north coast of the Cherborg Peninsula, the north coast of Jersey and then back over Sark."
At 10:50am, the police reported that the search was still ongoing and a decision about continuing it would be made once the morning's search pattern was complete.
24th January— Guernsey Police (@GuernseyPolice) January 24, 2019
We are commencing a coastal search using be Channel Islands Air Search plane of Burhou, the Casquets, Alderney, the north coast of the Cherbourg Peninsula, north coast of Jersey and then back over Sark.
Further information released when available
The search was called off for the day on Wednesday at 5:10pm, with Channel Islands Air Search having confirmed earlier in the day that it is now a recovery rather than a rescue operation.
"After an intensive search using multiple aircraft and one lifeboat over the last nine hours, we have found no trace of the missing plane," Guernsey Police said in a statement on Wednesday.
"With the light now fading, the search will shortly be suspended for the night."
The plane carrying 28-year-old Sala and the pilot, who was named on Wednesday, disappeared from radar near the Channel Islands on Monday evening.
The light aircraft, a US-registered Piper PA-46-310P Malibu, had been flying at 5000 feet but requested to land while passing Guernsey, and was last detected when it lost contact with Jersey air traffic controllers at 2300 feet.
Guernsey Police suspended the search due to fading light on Wednesday evening, but made the decision to resume in coastal areas on Thursday.
Rescuers had been considering various possibilities, including that Sala and the pilot may have been picked up by a passing ship, and had reviewed satellite images and mobile phone data in hope of finding the pair.
The forward, who scored 12 goals in 19 appearances for Nantes this season, sent a WhatsApp audio message to friends from on board the aircraft, revealing fears for his safety.
In the message, he said: "I am up in the plane and it feels like it's falling to pieces.
"If in an hour and a half you haven't heard from me, I don't know if they are going to send someone to look for me because they won't find me, but you will know. Man, I'm scared."