Cardiff City footballer Sala onboard plane that disappeared

The small aircraft disappeared near the Channel island Alderney on Monday night.

    French and British authorities are looking for a small aircraft carrying Argentinian footballer Emiliano Sala that went missing on Monday night.

    Sala, a 28-year-old striker who signed for Premier League club Cardiff City FC on Saturday, was on his way to Cardiff from Nantes when the plane lost radar contact near the Channel island Alderney.

    An official involved in the search for the plane said he is not expecting any survivors to be found.

    Channel Islands Airsearch chief officer John Fitzgerald told the Associated Press news agency he is "not expecting anyone to be alive".

    "I don't think the coastguard are either. We just don't know how it disappeared," Fitzgerald said.

    Rescue helicopters and boats searched about 2,600 square kilometres off the Channel Islands for the single-engine Piper Malibu plane.

    "At this time no trace of the missing aircraft had been found," said Guernsey police.

    A spokesperson for the French aviation authority, DGAC, confirmed Sala was on board.

    On Monday, Sala was in Nantes to say goodbye to his former Nantes teammates as he headed to Cardiff to play for his new team.

    In his final two posts on Instagram, Sala posted pictures of him after he signed for Cardiff City and a picture with his former Nantes teammates with the caption "the final goodbye".

    View this post on Instagram

    ‪La ultima ❤️ ciao @FCNantes 👋🏻💛💚‬

    A post shared by Emiliano Sala (@emilianosala9) onJan 21, 2019 at 4:09am PST

    Sala's father told Argentinian media he did not know what had happened until a friend told him.

    "I didn't know anything because I'm away from home, I'm a truck driver. A friend who saw it on TV told me. I'm in despair. I pray that this ends well," said Horacio Sala.

    Sala signed with Cardiff City for the record fee of about $19m after playing for FC Nantes since 2012.

    Mehmet Dalman, chairman of the Welsh football club, said the club was "very concerned".

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies