Emiliano Sala was POISONED: Cardiff City striker and pilot were exposed to toxic levels of carbon monoxide in cockpit of their private plane when it crashed into Channel, Air Accident watchdog reveals
Footballer Emiliano Sala died in a plane crash over the English Channel on January 21
Footballer Emiliano Sala and his pilot had been exposed to harmful levels of carbon monoxide in the cockpit of their private plane when it crashed into the English Channel, it was revealed today.
The 28-year-old Argentinian striker was killed on January 21 when a plane carrying him crashed two days after he had signed a £15million transfer to Cardiff City from French club Nantes.
The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch said that both he and pilot David Ibbotson, 59, whose body has not yet been found, had been exposed to harmful levels of carbon monoxide.
After a major search, Mr Sala’s body was found and taken to Dorset’s Portland Port on February 7. An inquest heard he died of severe head and upper body injuries.
An interim report by the Farnborough-based AAIB revealed Mr Ibbotson did not have a licence for commercial flights.
An official report previously stated that the plane involved in the crash fell thousands of feet in just 24 seconds before crashing into the sea and splitting into three parts.
Pilot David Ibbotson was also exposed to harmful levels of carbon monoxide in the cockpit
The Piper Malibu aircraft, N264DB, on the ground at Nantes Airport in France, before the flight
The rear left of the fuselage, including part of the aircraft registration, in the plane wreckage
The aircraft took off at 7.15pm GMT on January 21 and flew on its planned route at an altitude of 5,500 feet until it was just south of Guernsey at 8.02pm.
At that point, Mr Ibbotson descended to fly at 5,000 feet to maintain visibility.
The last radio communication received from the aircraft was at 8.12pm, when the pilot asked for and was granted permission to reduce altitude again.
But at 8.16pm, while performing a right turn, the aircraft descended rapidly and crashed into the sea.
A van by the Geo Ocean III specialist search vessel docked in Portland, Dorset, which brought back the body recovered from the wreckage of the plane carrying Sala, on February 7
Sala’s body was recovered from the wreckage of the plane more than 20 miles off Guernsey
The wreckage was found on the seabed, 30 metres from where final radar readings located it.
The mangled wreck, which was found in three parts, was held together by electrical and flying control cables.
In the days following the accident, two seat cushions, an armrest and possible parts from the fuselage washed up along the coast of the Cotentin Peninsula in France.
A seat cushion also washed up in Bonne Nuit Bay on the north coast of Jersey.