The Bluebirds have been left “shocked” and “distressed” by events surrounding their record signing, who was due to link up with the club on Tuesday

Cardiff City continue to “pray for positive news” as they wait for updates on Emiliano Sala and the plane which went missing while bringing the Argentine striker to Wales from Nantes.

Authorities continue to search for an aircraft which vanished off radar while in the air on Monday evening.

The plane, which it has been confirmed by the French civil aviation authority to AP as having Sala travelling on it, was off the coast of Guernsey when it disappeared.

And Cardiff have now released a statement from the club’s executive director and CEO Ken Choo, insisting that they are “distressed” at the situation and “praying for positive news”.

“We were very shocked upon hearing the news that the plane had gone missing. We expected Emiliano to arrive last night into Cardiff and today was due to be his first day with the team,” the statement read.

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“Our owner, Tan Sri Vincent Tan, and chairman, Mehmet Dalman, are all very distressed about the situation.

“We made the decision first thing this morning to call off training with the thoughts of the squad, management staff and the entire club with Emiliano and the pilot.

“All of us at Cardiff City FC would like to thank our fans, and the entire footballing family for their support at this difficult time. We continue to pray for positive news.”

Choo added when speaking to Sky News: “He’s such a great person. He was so happy to join Cardiff City.

“You can see from [his] face that he’s so, so happy to be here, and so ready to start. Words cannot describe the look on his face.

“When he met us and we walked him around the grounds, he was absolutely ready to give it a go. And we knew him then, and we really feel sad.”

Sala completed his club-record £15 million ($19m) move to the Welsh capital from Nantes on Saturday, and had travelled back to France to bid farewell to his former team-mates.

Nantes themselves released a statement on the incident, with club president Waldemar Kita saying: I’m thinking of his friends and his family. I still have hope – he’s a fighter and it’s not over. Maybe he is somewhere.

“We are waiting for some news that we hope will be positive. We are very touched by all the support received since this morning.”

As confirmed by Guernsey police, an area of 1155sq miles had been searched as of 4.10pm (GMT) “by a total of five aircraft and two lifeboats”.

In a further update, they said that a number of floating objects had been found in the course of their 15-hour search, but were unable to confirm that any of them were from the missing aircraft.

The Guernsey police suspended their search for the night as of 5.00pm GMT, with the search to be resumed in the morning. 

Channel Islands Air Search chief of operations John Fitzgerald has claimed that, given the circumstances around the missing aircraft and the temperature of the water, he is not confident about a positive outcome.

He told So Foot: “I really do not understand how an airplane could have disappeared from radar. There must have been a technical or mechanical problem.

“[The plane] just completely vanished. There was no radio conversation.

“Personally, and I only speak for myself, I do not think there is any chance of them being alive right now.

“It is extremely cold in these waters, a person immersed probably would not survive more than one hour, unless you have protection.”

Fans of Nantes are set to gather in the city centre on Tuesday evening in a vigil while Cardiff fans have begun to pay tribute at the Cardiff City Stadium.