'Disregarded the rules': Shock new details in plane crash tragedy

AFP

Cardiff City say they are shocked by a report that the pilot in the plane crash that killed Emiliano Sala was not qualified to fly at night.

The Premier League club said they remain “deeply concerned” that the pilot David Ibbotson and those who arranged the flight “seemingly completely disregarded the rules of flying and put Mr Sala’s life in such danger”.

Sala died when the Piper Malibu aircraft they were travelling in came down in the English Channel on January 21, two days after Cardiff had signed the Argentinian striker from French club Nantes.

Underwater footage of the plane wreckage. Image: AP
Underwater footage of the plane wreckage. Image: AP

The BBC on Saturday reported Ibbotson was thought to have been colour-blind and that his licence restricted him to flying in daytime hours only.

Cardiff said in a statement: “Cardiff City is shocked to hear the pilot, David Ibbotson, may not have been permitted to fly at night.

“The club remains deeply concerned that the pilot, and those who arranged the flight, seemingly completely disregarded the rules of flying and put Mr Sala’s life in such danger.

Emiliano Sala in action for Nantes. Image: Getty
Emiliano Sala in action for Nantes. Image: Getty

“We believe those who are responsible should be held fully accountable for their actions.

“We reiterate our support for the Air Charter Association’s call for more awareness of and better enforcement against illegal flights.”

More questions over legality of flight

Cardiff had previously said that they had offered their new forward a commercial flight, but Sala instead chose to fly privately.

Agent Willie McKay told the BBC he arranged the ill-fated flight through an experienced pilot who had flown him and many of his players “all over Europe on countless occasions.”

Emiliano Sala on a previous flight. Image: Instagram
Emiliano Sala on a previous flight. Image: Instagram

The former agent said the pilot, David Henderson, did not own the plane and he did not know who Henderson was going to ask to fly it.

Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) previously said the private plane did not have a commercial licence.

However, it said the journey would have been allowed as a “private” flight in which costs are shared between pilot and passenger.