Nantes supporters sang songs in support of Emiliano Sala in the heart of the city after the aircraft carrying the footballer disappeared en route from France to Cardiff. But on passing Guernsey it requested descent, and air traffic control lost contact while it was flying at 2,300 feet.
A search and rescue operation was underway shortly after the aircraft disappeared from radar, but had to be suspended overnight between Monday and Tuesday due to challenging conditions on the sea, before it resumed on Tuesday morning.
280 square miles were searched by a number of aircraft over five hours on Wednesday, according to Guernsey Police.
The 28-year-old was going back to Wales after bidding goodbye to his Nantes teammates on Monday night. The French regional maritime authority sent a search helicopter.
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The chances of finding Sala alive were "slim" if the plane landed on water, Guernsey police had said in a statement earlier on Tuesday afternoon.
A statement from Cardiff City chairman Mehmet Dalman released on Tuesday morning read: "We are very concerned by the latest news that a light aircraft lost contact over the Channel last night".
Guernsey police have suspended their search for the plane and will continue looking when the sun rises in the United Kingdom, but hopes the record signing and his pilot will be found alive are'slim'.
"After all this time, the weather's quite cold, the water is very cold out there".
Sala has scored 13 league goals this season in all competitions for Nantes this season. "If they did land on the water, the chances of survival are at this stage, unfortunately, slim", the force tweeted.
"At this point in time we just want to know if he and the pilot are OK".