Organiser Of Flight That Killed Emiliano Sala Is Convicted Over Plane Deaths

by : Hannah Smith on : 28 Oct 2021 11:56
Organiser Of Flight That Killed Emiliano Sala Is Convicted Over Plane DeathsAlamy

The man who organised the flight that crashed killing footballer Emiliano Sala has been convicted of endangering the safety of the aircraft.

Sala, 28, and pilot David Ibbotson, 59, died in January 2019 when the single-engine plane crashed into the English Channel on its journey from Nantes in France to Cardiff, where Sala was set to sign for then-Premier League club Cardiff City.

Memorial to Emiliano Sala (Alamy)Alamy

David Henderson, 67, organised the flight along with Sala’s agent Willie McKay, and previously pleaded guilty to trying to arrange a flight for a passenger without permission or authorisation. He was found guilty by majority verdict and is set to be sentenced on November 12.

The Air Accidents Investigations Branch found the plane had been ‘leaking carbon monoxide’ during the flight, and that a manoeuvre by the pilot, Ibbotson, to ‘pull up’ the plane caused it to break up in mid-air. At a hearing in October 2020 it was heard that Ibbotson’s licence to fly a commercial plane had expired some two months before the accident.

David Henderson (Alamy)Alamy

Sala’s body was discovered at the bottom of the English Channel a month later, while Ibbotson’s body has not been found, BBC News reports.

In a statement issued on the second anniversary of Sala’s death, his family called for an inquest into the accident, saying, ‘It is a tragedy that two years have passed since Emiliano’s death and we still do not know exactly how and why he died. An inquest is the only way to establish the full truth.’

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Hannah Smith

Hannah is a London-based journalist covering news and features for UNILAD. She's especially interested in social and political activism.

Topics: Sport, Now, plane crash


  1. BBC

    Emiliano Sala: Flight organiser convicted over plane deaths