Sala search begins for third day

Authorities have begun a third day of searching for the missing aircraft carrying Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala.

Guernsey Police confirmed early on Thursday that efforts have been resumed using a Channel Islands Air Search plane.

Sala, who became Cardiff's record signing last week after agreeing to join from Ligue 1 side Nantes, was confirmed by French authorities as one of two people aboard a Piper Malibu that disappeared en route to the Welsh capital on Monday.

On Wednesday, Cardiff chairman Mehmet Dalman confirmed the player had made his own travel arrangements after the Premier League club had sought to fly him back from France via a commercial flight.

Mark McKay, an agent involved in brokering Sala's move to Cardiff, confirmed via a statement that he arranged the 28-year-old's flight but denied reports that the missing aircraft was owned by him or his family.

"I wish to make clear that despite media reports, the plane involved in this terrible episode was not owned in any way or part by either myself or any member of my family," he said via Sky Sports.

"I have chosen to wait a few days before making a statement so that the focus remained on the efforts of the search and rescue teams looking for Emiliano Sala and the pilot of the missing plane.

"Along with everyone in the world of football, I want to express my sadness and that of my family with regards to the tragic events that have unfolded since Monday evening.

"The families of both Emiliano and that of the pilot are utmost in our thoughts and prayers. I knew Emiliano well, he was a wonderful person and I count myself fortunate to have known him."

There had been speculation around Sala's decision to take the small Piper Malibu plane to Cardiff, with some reports suggesting the flight had been organised by the club, but Cardiff club chairman Mehmet Dalman says they had wanted the 28-year-old to travel to Paris before boarding a commercial flight to the Welsh capital.

"We have looked into this quite thoroughly and it's evident that Cardiff took the responsibility to offer the player arrangements, which would have been commercial flights, which would have meant getting the train from Nantes to Paris and then Paris to Heathrow and driving up," he told Sky Sports News.

"And the player's reaction to that was that he wanted to make his own arrangements, which would've been much quicker. We will continue to collect data to try to understand exactly what happened at this end.

"Whether he did it from a Nantes point of view or with his agent, we are trying to ascertain that. We will reach a conclusion in two days.

"Everything points to a tragic accident."

Dalman confirmed Sala's sister is travelling to Cardiff to meet with CEO Ken Choo and manager Neil Warnock.

"It has been a difficult couple of days, but the family of football has really been very supportive, not just within Cardiff but across the world. We are very grateful for the support we have received," he said.

"It's just tragic. We will continue to hope and pray but we also have to be realistic. It doesn't look good at this very moment. The sister of Sala is on her way to Cardiff, where Ken Choo and Neil will meet her and talk. This is a must: we must show our human side in such tragic circumstances.

"You can't train for an event like this. Everyone is pulling together."

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