SEARCH FOR MISSING ARGENTINE FOOTBALLER AND PILOT CALLED OFF

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The search for missing footballer Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson has been called off after rescuers failed to find their plane.

Cardiff City’s 28 year old Argentine striker and Mr Ibbotson were on the aircraft that disappeared from radar on Monday.

After three days, authorities made the decision to abandon the search.

Guernsey Police tweeted to say rescuers were “no longer actively searching” for the plane.

The statement, from harbourmaster Captain David Barker said the chances of survival “are extremely remote”.

Captain Barker said that the depth of the sea where the plane had last contact was about 100m and it would remain a missing persons case for the police.

Sala became Cardiff City’s record signing on Saturday, joining from Ligue 1 club Nantes for a fee of £15m.

He had returned to the French city to say a final farewell to his former teammates before taking the plane back to the Welsh capital.

The single-engine plane carrying Sala and Mr Ibbotson, from Crowle, Lincolnshire, left Nantes, north-west France, at 19:15 on Monday and had been flying at 5,000ft over the Channel Islands when it disappeared off radar near the Casquets lighthouse, near to Alderney.

It lost contact while at 2,300ft and disappeared off radar near the Casquets lighthouse, infamous among mariners as the site of many shipwrecks, eight miles north-west of Alderney.

Sala reportedly sent a WhatsApp voice message before the flight. Sounding conversational and jokey, he said he was “so scared” and: “I’m on a plane that seems like it is breaking apart.”

Rescue crews have searched about 1,700 square miles of land and sea in the Channel Islands in the past three days, covering Burhou, the Casquets, Alderney, the north coast of the Cherbourg Peninsula, north coast of Jersey and Sark.