The search for a missing plane carrying a Premier League footballer, Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson has been called off for the night. The pair were in the plane that vanished from radar on Monday.
The single-engine plane left Nantes, north-west France, at 19:15 on Monday and had been flying at 5,000ft (1,500m) over the Channel Islands when it contacted Jersey air traffic control requesting descent.
It lost contact while at 2,300ft (700m) and disappeared off radar near the Casquets lighthouse, infamous among mariners as the site of many shipwrecks, eight miles (13km) north-west of Alderney.
Sala was heading to the Welsh capital after signing for the Bluebirds from French club Nantes in a £15m deal.
Guernsey Police said an “intensive” nine-hour search found no trace of the missing aircraft. A decision on whether to resume the search involving “multiple aircraft and one lifeboat” will be taken on Thursday but hope had dimmed for finding survivors.
A rescuer said there was “no hope” of finding the 28-year-old Argentine or pilot from Crowle, Lincolnshire, alive. Channel Islands Air Search chief officer John Fitzgerald said “even the most fit person” would only survive for a few hours in the water.
As part of rescue efforts, police have been looking at satellite images and mobile phone data, BBC reports.
Sala reportedly sent a WhatsApp voice message before the flight. Sounding conversational and jokey, he said he was “so scared”.
Media in Argentina reported he said: “I’m on a plane that looks like it’s going to fall apart.”
Mr Fitzgerald said: “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.”
Humberside Police said specially trained officers were supporting Mr Ibbotson’s family, adding they had “asked for privacy at this difficult time”.