Man Pleads Guilty to Charge Related to Emiliano Sala Death

Emiliano Sala
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A man has pleaded guilty to a charge relating to the flight that led to the death of Emiliano Sala in January 2019.

The striker had been travelling to Cardiff from Nantes ahead of his move to then-Premier League side Cardiff City.

The plane carrying the 28-year-old and the pilot, David Ibbotson, lost contact with air traffic control over the English channel and, following an investigation, was found to have crashed.


David Henderson, 67, admitted to trying to arrange a flight for a passenger without permission or authorisation.

Henderson, from Hotham, East Riding of Yorkshire, will go on trial after denying a separate charge of endangering the safety of an aircraft.

Mans Pleads Guilty to Charge Relating to Emiliano Sala Death

David Henderson Pleads Guilty

Henderson is alleged by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to have arranged the flight that ultimately led to the death of Sala and Ibbotson.

The single-engine Piper Malibu aircraft was bringing the striker to Cardiff ahead of his signing for the club – which would have been a club record at just over £15 million.

Sala’s body was recovered after a month. The initial search did not yield any results, but a private search eventually recovered him. However, Ibbotson’s body has never been discovered.

In October 2020, the court heard that Ibbotson’s licence to fly commercial aircraft had expired in November 2018.

The Air Accidents Investigations Branch (AAIB) also reported at the start of the year that the Piper Malibu had been leaking carbon monoxide throughout the flight, and Ibbotson’s final manoeuvre to pull the plane up resulted in it breaking up in mid-air.

A jury inquest into his death was postponed until after Henderson’s trial (which is expected to last ten days) and is scheduled for February 14, 2022.


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