According to BBC News via the Air Accidents Investigation Branch’s recently published findings, David Ibbotson – the pilot of the plane crash that also killed Emiliano Sala, wan’t licensed to fly the aircraft.
Sala, who had just signed for then Premier League side Cardiff City, was travelling from Nantes on 21 January 2019, the plane the striker was on reportedly crashed in the English Channel near Guernsey.
The investigation states that both Sala and the pilot – Ibbotson, would have been affected by carbon monoxide poisoning at the time.
The AAIB’s report found that Ibbotson was not licensed to fly the aircraft , as he wasn’t qualified to fly the plane at night. The pilot’s rating for that particular type of aircraft also expired in November 2018.
The findings also suggest that an intermittent fault should have seen the plane labelled as ‘inoperative’.
The Air Charter Association’s chief executive has reacted to the findings by stating this flight was ‘clearly an illegal charter’.
BBC News report that Sala’s body was found in the plane’s wreckage, whilst Ibbotson’s body has never been recovered.