Emiliano Sala: Footballer overwhelmed by toxic fumes before dying in a plane crash, concludes the inquest jury | Soccer News


Emiliano Sala has died in a plane crash, after being overwhelmed by toxic levels of carbon monoxide during an unlicensed commercial flight, an inquest jury has concluded.

The Argentinian-born striker died from head and chest injuries but was deeply unconscious, having been poisoned by fumes from the plane’s faulty exhaust system.

Bournemouth Town Hall’s jury found Sala was a passenger on a private plane, flown by a pilot who lacked the authority to fly at night, which disintegrated when it crashed in the sea.

The 28-year-old was on board the Piper Malibu flying from Nantes in France to Wales on the evening of January 21, 2019 when it crashed in the English Channel near Guernsey, also killing pilot David Ibbotson, 59. , whose body was never found.

Picture:
A tribute at Cardiff City Stadium for Emiliano Sala.

Sala then joined Premier League club Cardiff City in a £15million move from French Ligue 1 side Nantes, which involved football agent Willie McKay.

Pathologist Dr Basil Purdue said Sala suffered ‘severe poisoning’ and was believed to have been ‘deeply unconscious’ before the single-engine plane crashed.

Dr Purdue said Sala was still alive at the time of impact and died from serious head and chest injuries.

An engineering expert said the most likely cause of the carbon monoxide buildup inside the cabin was the plane’s faulty exhaust system.

Pilot and businessman David Henderson, 67, managed the plane on behalf of its owner and arranged the flights, pilots and maintenance, although he was not the legally registered operator.

In this photo taken on January 14, 2018, Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala of club FC Nantes in western France gives a thumbs up during a soccer match against PSG in Nantes, France.
Picture:
Sala then joined Premier League side Cardiff City in a transfer from Nantes

A long-time client was Mr McKay, who helped his son Mark’s firm represent Nantes during the transfer.

Mr McKay, who at the time was barred from acting as an agent in the transfer in his own right because he was an undischarged bankrupt, arranged the flights to and from Nantes after that Sala had passed a medical examination in Cardiff.

He said he only wanted to help Sala get home and claimed Cardiff City had ‘abandoned’ him.

Mr McKay denied knowingly arranging illegal ‘grey’ flights – private charters carrying paying passengers – because Mr Henderson did not have an air operator certificate (AOC) that would have allowed him to carry paying passengers.

As well as not having an AOC, the court heard that Mr Henderson kept no records or invoices for his company, nor the qualifications of the pilots who flew for him.

Mr Ibbotson had reported to Mr Henderson that he had heard a loud bang on the outbound flight from Cardiff to Nantes – but an engineer was never asked to investigate when the plane landed in France.

He had been banned from flying the Piper Malibu by its owner following two airspace violations months earlier, but Mr Henderson allowed him to continue.

Mr. Ibbotson held a private pilot’s licence, which did not allow him to carry passengers for commercial purposes, nor was he permitted to fly at night.

Last year, Mr Henderson was jailed for 18 months after being found guilty of endangering the safety of an aircraft for using the services of Mr Ibbotson when he knew he was not did not have the necessary licenses.

He admitted another offense for attempting to arrange a flight for a passenger without permission or authorization.




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