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Emiliano Sala: Pilot 'not licenced' for flight which killed Cardiff footballer

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Supporters pay tribute to Argentinian soccer player Emiliano Sala
Supporters pay tribute to Argentinian soccer player Emiliano Sala   -   Copyright  AP
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The pilot involved in the plane crash that killed Argentinian footballer Emiliano Sala was not licenced to fly the aircraft, an investigation has found.

Publishing its report into the crash which happened on the evening of 21 January 2019, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said the pilot, David Ibbotson, lost control of the aircraft most likely while attempting to avoid poor weather.

This caused the plane to break-up in-flight as it was travelling far in excess of its design manoeuvring speed.

The plane, which had taken off from Nantes Airport in France and was destined for Cardiff in Wales, crashed into the sea 22 nautical miles from Guernsey.

The report stated the pilot was probably affected by carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, and there was no CO detector with an active warning in the aircraft which might have alerted him in time to take mitigating action.

It also revealed Sala would have been “deeply unconscious” at the time of the accident due to CO levels in the cabin.

The flight went ahead despite the pilot having had no training in night flying, during poor visibility or bad weather.

The report stated: “neither the pilot nor aircraft had the required licences or permissions to operate commercially”.

Sala, 28, had signed for Cardiff just two days before the crash. Before that, the Argentinian had enjoyed three and a half seasons playing for Nantes in France’s Ligue 1.