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FC Nantes are pleading for the search to find the missing plane that was carrying Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala from Nantes back to Cardiff to continue.
The 28-year old returned to Nantes to say goodbye to his former teammates after signing for the Premier League side last weekend and then boarded his flight to return to the Welsh capital on Monday night, before it went missing over the Channel Islands.
Guernsey Police conducted a thorough search over the past few days but decided to bring it to a halt today, issuing a lengthy statement and revealing that next of kin had been informed.
Please read the attached statement.
Unless there is a significant development, there will be no further updates pic.twitter.com/jbEIFMB3zi
- Guernsey Police (@GuernseyPolice) January 24, 2019
However, the player's former club do not want to give up and sent out the following tweet urging the search to resume.
Le FC Nantes a appris l'abandon des recherches de l'avion disparu.
Celles-ci ne peuvent s'arrêter. Le Club et ses supporters demandent avec force que les recherches pour retrouver @EmilianoSala1 continuent, pour sa famille et pour ses proches.
Ensemble, pour Emi !#PrayForSala pic.twitter.com/YOjjnoxt9H
- FC Nantes (@FCNantes) January 24, 2019
On Wednesday, Guernsey Police revealed four potential possibilities and said they were favouring the third option: "They landed on water and made it into the life raft we know was on board."
1/2- Guernsey Police (@GuernseyPolice) January 23, 2019
We are searching based on four possibilities:
1. They have landed elsewhere but not made contact.
2. They landed on water, have been picked up by a passing ship but not made contact
3. They landed on water and made it into the life raft we know was on board
2/2- Guernsey Police (@GuernseyPolice) January 23, 2019
4. The aircraft broke up on contact with the water, leaving them in the sea.
Our search area is prioritised on the life raft option.
More updates as information becomes available
It gave the slightest glimmer of hope that Sala and pilot Dave Ibbotson could be found safe and well, but Chief officer of Channel Islands Air Search, John Fitzgerald, was realistic in the chances of a miracle happening, saying "even the most fit person" would not be able to survive in water for such a long period of time.
He added, as per the BBC: "Sadly, I really don't think, personally, there is any hope. At this time of year the conditions out there are pretty horrendous if you are actually in the water."
Meanwhile, the Premier League have confirmed that "a moment of silent reflection" will be held before the next batch of league games.
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