sport news US Marine scientist behind hunt for Emilaino Sala is 'confident' he'll find ...

Cardiff City stadium was flooded with tributes to footballer Emiliano Sala ahead of the team's Premier League clash with Bournemouth today.

Hundreds of Cardiff City fans were seen laying scares, daffodils and caps inscribed with Sala's name outside Cardiff City Stadium in their first home game since the footballer's disappearance.  

The moving scenes come as the US marine scientist behind the private hunt for the wreckage of Emiliano Sala's plane promised to find answers for the star's family - but warned that the plane has 'clearly broken up'. 

David Mearns revealed his confidence in finding the missing plane during a press conference at St Peter Port harbour, Guernsey, at the end of Crown Pier, today.

He said search efforts to recover the missing plane would begin at 3am on Sunday and would focus on a 4sq nautical mile area of the seabed north of Guernsey.  

The scientist believes that they will find the wreckage by Tuesday. 

The Piper Malibu carrying Cardiff City's new signing Sala vanished over the Channel Islands on Monday January 21 after hitting bad weather en route to Wales from Nantes in France

The Piper Malibu carrying Cardiff City's new signing Sala vanished over the Channel Islands on Monday January 21 after hitting bad weather en route to Wales from Nantes in France

Emiliano Sala, pictured, told loved ones he was worried the plane was falling apart in WhatsApp messages before take-off

Emiliano Sala, pictured, told loved ones he was worried the plane was falling apart in WhatsApp messages before take-off

Football fans lay flowers and scarves outside Cardiff City Stadium in tribute to footballer Emiliano Sala

Football fans lay flowers and scarves outside Cardiff City Stadium in tribute to footballer Emiliano Sala

Cardiff City fans lay tributes outside the stadium during the Premier League match today

Cardiff City fans lay tributes outside the stadium during the Premier League match today

Daffodils and scarves were placed outside Cardiff City Stadium in honour of Emiliano Sala

Daffodils and scarves were placed outside Cardiff City Stadium in honour of Emiliano Sala

The Cardiff City player went missing along with pilot David Ibbotson almost a fortnight ago

The Cardiff City player went missing along with pilot David Ibbotson almost a fortnight ago

Blue caps were placed on the ground outside the stadium with messages to Emiliano Sala

Blue caps were placed on the ground outside the stadium with messages to Emiliano Sala

Scarves which pictured the Cardiff City player were also placed against the railings in honour of the footballer

Scarves which pictured the Cardiff City player were also placed against the railings in honour of the footballer

Daffodils were seen amid a sea of blue outside the stadium ahead of the Premier League match

Daffodils were seen amid a sea of blue outside the stadium ahead of the Premier League match

The plane carrying 28-year-old Sala and pilot David Ibbotson disappeared over the English Channel on January 21 after leaving Nantes in France for Cardiff. 

Mr Mearns says the cooperation between his private search and the government led search 'has been tremendous'. 

He also thanked the local authorities for their assistance.  

Talking about the search, Mr Mearns said: 'I want to help them, as simple as that, any way we can. The family are devastated we're trying to provide answers, that's the ultimate objective. We are giving the families the best chance to find the answers they don't have.

Sonar and remote controlled vehicles will be searching 24 hours a day, and will allow searchers to find small objects.

However, he warned: 'The plane has been badly broken up and we are looking for a debris field. We are confident of finding the wreckage on the next three days.' 

The specialist FPV Morven Survey ship now in Guernsey at St Peter Port Harbour

The specialist FPV Morven Survey ship now in Guernsey at St Peter Port Harbour

Marine scientist David Mearns, 60, is in Guernsey to help local recovery experts with the hunt for the aircraft

Marine scientist David Mearns, 60, is in Guernsey to help local recovery experts with the hunt for the aircraft

Marine scientist David Mearns (right) speaks as Emiliano Sala's sister Romina (left) and mother Mercedes (right) listen at a press conference in Guernsey today 

Marine scientist David Mearns (right) speaks as Emiliano Sala's sister Romina (left) and mother Mercedes (right) listen at a press conference in Guernsey today 

The family of the missing footballer had earlier announced they would launch the underwater search this weekend. 

The Argentinian player's mother and sister arrived in Guernsey last week and raised funds for a private search in a 33-square-mile area of the English Channel seabed.  

The police search and rescue operation was called off on Thursday, January 24 but the family have enlisted marine scientist David Mearns to help with the private search. 

US-born Mr Mearns has been called in after a funding campaign backed by Premier League stars Laurent Koscielny and Ilkay Gundogan raised nearly £260,000. 

A specialist vessel which can scan anomalies on the seabed has arrived in Guernsey to carry out the search. 

The vessel, which travelled from Southampton, is to be used by the group being led by world-renowned marine scientist and shipwreck hunter Mearns.

The boat is operated by global marine cable installation firm A-2-Sea and equipped with a multi-beam echosounder and side-scan sonar, which can detect anomalies on the seabed.

Mr Mearns, who claims to have found 24 major shipwrecks, said the boat, named Morven, was brought to Guernsey six hours earlier than scheduled to take advantage of a break in the weather. 

Sala, who had completed a £15 million move to Cardiff on January 19, had been visiting his former club and saying goodbye to his old teammates. 

He also returned to put his beloved dog Nala in kennels. 

Mr Ibbotson took control of the plane as it returned to Cardiff and aborted three attempted take offs in terrible weather.

An hour into the flight, Mr Ibbotson told air traffic control he was reducing altitude from 5,000 to 2,300 feet over the Channel Islands.

It later emerged Cardiff's record signing had expressed fears for his life in messages sent to close

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