Emiliano Sala scored 13 goals in all competitions for FC Nantes this season, and signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with Cardiff, subject to receiving international clearance. Photo: EPA

LONDON – Police on the British island of Guernsey on Tuesday suspended a search for a missing plane carrying new Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala, warning that survival chances were “slim” if the aircraft landed on water.

Guernsey police said a 15-hour search covering a 1 155-square-mile (3 000-square-kilometre) area in the Channel spotted “a number of floating objects in the water”.

“We have been unable to confirm whether any of these are from the missing aircraft,” the police said in a statement.

“We have found no signs of those on board. If they did land on the water, the chances of survival are at this stage, unfortunately, slim.”

The search included aircraft and sea vessels from the Channel Islands, the UK and France, and will resume on Wednesday, the police said.

Sala, 28, was flying to Cardiff aboard a small plane that disappeared from radars around 20km north of Guernsey on Monday night.

The Argentine striker was signed by the Welsh side on Saturday from France’s Nantes for a reported fee of €17 million.

He scored 13 goals in all competitions this season, and signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with Cardiff, subject to receiving international clearance.

Cardiff City executive director and chief executive Ken Choo said in a statement:

“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.”

AFP