Man charged over plane crash which killed footballer Emiliano Sala and Doncaster pilot

A man has appeared in court charged in connection with the plane crash that killed Premier League footballer Emiliano Sala and Doncaster pilot David Ibbotson.

By Darren Burke
Thursday, 15th October 2020, 7:15 pm

A light aircraft carrying the 28-year-old Cardiff City striker from Nantes to Cardiff crashed into the English Channel in January 2019.

David Henderson, 66, from North Yorkshire, pleaded not guilty to Cardiff Magistrates in September, a pre-inquest review heard.

The full inquest at Bournemouth Coroner's Court was adjourned until after the trial in 2022.

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Emiliano Sala died in the crash in January 2019. The body of pilot David Ibbotson has never been found.

At the hearing, the Civil Aviation Authority said Mr Henderson, a charter pilot and aircraft broker, had been charged with offences under the Air Navigation Order.

Mr Henderson, from York, is alleged to have arranged the flight in the single engine Piper Malibu aircraft, which lost contact with air traffic control north of Guernsey.

Keith Morton QC, representing the CAA, told the inquest hearing that Mr Henderson had been charged with acting in a reckless or negligent manner likely to endanger flights.

He is further charged with operating the aircraft commercially without the correct permissions.

The body of Mr Sala was found inside the wreckage on 8 February by a private rescue team.

The body of Mr Ibbotson, 59, from Crowle has never been found.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch concluded that the single-engine aircraft suffered an in-flight break-up while being flown too fast for its design.

Investigators said Mr Ibbotson had no training in night flying and a lack of recent practice in relying only on cockpit instruments to control a plane.

They also found that he held a private pilot's licence that did not allow him to conduct flights for reward.