Underwater search has started for the plane that carried Emiliano Sala

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Emiliano Sala signed for Cardiff City on January 19th for club record fee of £15 million, the Argentine had impressed in four years at Nantes scoring 42 league goals in 120 games before making the switch.

The 28-year-old was set to fly to Cardiff on January 21st in order attend his first training session with the club the following morning.

However, the aircraft Sala was on - Piper Malibu - went suspiciously missing in the English Channel en route to Cardiff, leaving the whereabouts of both Sala and the pilot David Ibbotson unknown.

WhatsApp messages were discovered revealing Sala's worries about the plane and how it looked like it was "falling to pieces".

The Channel Islands Air Search sadly admitted that there was "no hope" of finding any survivors in the water, however the search is still an open case.

The latest development is that an underwater search has now commenced, with the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) saying that its Geo Ocean III vessel arrived on Sunday morning to start an intensive search of the area.

This is after an initial search was halted due to Guernsey officials admitting there was little chance of those on board surviving, however a privately-funded search was set up raising a staggering £324,000.

Various professional footballers including Lionel Messi contributed towards the fund.

The AAIB have said that the search is expected to last three days, while a seperate private search will continue with no time constraints "until the plane is located".

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David Mearns - a marine scientist who specialises in deep water searches and recovery operations - spoke at Guernsey harbour, emphasising the fact that his team would work jointly with the AAIB's vessel.

"Both vessels will be searching with essentially the same type of sonars, to give us topographic relief and also an image of the seabed," Mearns told the BBC.

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"One we locate any wreckage then we'd go onto the next phase which would be identifying it visually with a robotic vehicle called an ROV," Merans added.

"The confidence level is high, the complications are still the same. It's a small plane but we can now cover the area twice as fast with two vessels."

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