The search for missing Premier League footballer Emiliano Sala has been called off.
In a update posted on Twitter by Guernsey Police, harbour master Captain David Barker said the active search for the missing plane had ended.
He said: “My team have just met to review the search and rescue operation which has been underway since the plane disappeared on Monday night.
“Despite the best efforts of air and search assets from the Channel Islands, UK and France, which has covered an area of approximately 1,700 square miles – with a significant amount of this searched more than once – and having examined mobile phone data and satellite imagery, we have been unable to find any trace of the aircraft, the pilot or the passenger.
“There has been over 24 hours of continuous searching, with 80 hours combined flying time across three planes and five helicopters.
“Two lifeboats have also been involved, as well as assistance from various passing ships and fishing boats.
“We reviewed all the information available to us, as well as knowing what emergency equipment was on board, and have taken the difficult decision to end the search.
“The chances of survival at this stage are extremely remote.
“Next of kin have been informed of this development, and my thoughts go out to the family of the pilot and passenger at this most difficult of times.
“This has been a very thorough and extensive search, co-ordinated from the Guernsey-based Joint Emergency Services Control Centre and has seen exemplary co-operation from all countries involved, for which I would like to extend my personal thanks.
“The final aircraft searching for the missing plane and those on board has now landed. Although we are no longer actively searching, the incident remains open and we will be broadcasting to all vessels and aircraft in the area to keep a look out for any trace of the aircraft. This will continue indefinitely.”
The search for the £15m Argentine striker and pilot Dave Ibbotson has entered into its third day on Thursday morning.
Rescuers have seen a number of floating objects in the search area but none have been from the missing aircraft.
Cardiff chairman Mehmet Dalman admitted on Wednesday night that “it doesn’t look good” for Sala, who was aboard an aeroplane which disappeared from radar en route from Nantes to Cardiff on Monday evening.
Dalman, who described Sala’s disappearance as a “tragic accident”, said the Piper PA-46 Malibu plane was not organised by the club.
He also said the sister of the £15million Argentinian striker was on her way to south Wales.
“We continue to collect data to try to understand what happened from this end.
“Everything points towards a tragic accident, it really does,” Dalman told Sky Sports News HQ.
“We will continue to hope and pray. But we also have to be realistic, it doesn’t look good at this very moment.”
Football agent Mark McKay said he was involved in the travel arrangements for Sala, telling Sky Sports News: “I can confirm that when Emiliano made myself and his agent Meissa N’Diaye aware that he wished to travel back to Nantes following his medical and signing on Friday, I began to look into arranging a private flight to take him to Nantes on Saturday morning.
“That evening, it was confirmed a plane was available to fly Emiliano on Saturday which could remain in Nantes until he was due to return to Cardiff.
“I have been in contact with officials from Cardiff and the player’s agent over these difficult past few days and will continue to do so.”
Humberside Police confirmed on Wednesday evening that Mr Ibbotson, from Crowle, near Scunthorpe, was the pilot.
A WhatsApp voice message from Sala said he was “getting scared” and boarding a plane “that seems like it is falling to pieces”.
The rescue operation has targeted an area of 280 square miles around Alderney using multiple aircraft from the Channel Islands, France and the United Kingdom.