Sala news 'shook everyone at the club to the core': Malaysian tycoon

PETALING JAYA - Business tycoon and Cardiff City FC owner Tan Sri Vincent Tan says the disappearance of the club's new signing, Emiliano Sala, has "shaken everyone at the club to the core".

"We were looking forward to provide Emiliano with the next step in his life and career.

"Those who met Emiliano described a good-natured and humble young man, who was eager to impress in the Premier League," he said.

"The response from the football community has been truly touching, and we place on record our sincere thanks to those who have sent messages of support.

"We also thank everyone involved with the search and rescue operation, and continue to pray for Emiliano, David Ibbotson and their families," Tan said.

Sala, signed on Saturday (Jan 19) from French club Nantes for a reported fee of €17mil(S$26 mil), was flying to Cardiff aboard a small plane when it disappeared from radars around 20km (12 miles) north of Guernsey on Monday (Jan 21) night.

A statement from the police at Guernsey, a British island just off the coast of France, said the pilot had requested to lower his altitude shortly before air traffic control in neighbouring Jersey lost contact with the plane.

After the plane disappeared, a recording emerged of a fearful voice message, apparently from Sala, in which he expressed concern about the single-engine Piper Malibu aircraft he was flying in.