No trace of soccer player's plane after 2nd day searching

Five year old Grace Elliott and father Chris lay a Southampton FC scarf on the statue of former Cardiff City soccer player Frederick Charles Keenor outside Cardiff City Football Club in Cardiff, Wales, Tuesday Jan. 22, 2019 after a plane with new signing Emiliano Sala on board went missing over the English Channel. The French civil aviation authority said Tuesday Jan. 22, 2019, Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala was aboard a small passenger plane that went missing off the coast of the island of Guernsey. French and British maritime authorities are searching the English Channel for the plane. (Ben Birchall/PA via AP)

By ROB HARRIS

AP Global Soccer Writer

LONDON (AP) Search teams have yet to find any trace of the plane carrying Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala after a second day searching the English Channel from the air and sea, authorities said Wednesday.

Three planes, a helicopter and a lifeboat were part of a nine-hour search on Wednesday that was called off after 5 p.m. The search teams had prioritized looking into whether Sala and pilot David Ibbotson could have landed safely and been unable to make contact, but the pair remains missing since Monday night when the Piper PA-46 plane disappeared from radars near the island of Guernsey.

It was flying from the French city of Nantes to Cardiff, where Sala was due to start playing for the Welsh capital's Premier League club.

"We have found no trace of the missing plane," Guernsey harbor master Capt. David Barker said. "A decision about whether to recommence will be taken early tomorrow morning."

Among the possibilities Barker offered were that they landed safely on the ground somewhere, were picked up by a passing ship after landing on water, were in a life raft from the plane or were floating at sea because the plane "broke up on contact with the water."

Cardiff chairman Mehmet Dalman said Sala made his own arrangements for the journey with the club not involved in booking the plane.

Cardiff announced Saturday that it had signed Sala from French top division team Nantes for a club record fee reported to be 15 million pounds ($19 million).

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Updated January 23, 2019

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