'Reckless': Businessman jailed after star dies in horror plane crash

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·Sports Reporter
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Footballer Emiliano Sala (pictured left) died after a plane crash (pictured right) in the English Channel.
The businessman, David Henderson, who organised the flight which crashed and killed footballer Emiliano Sala (pictured left) has been jailed. (Images: Instagram/AFP)

The businessman who organised the flight that killed football star Emiliano Sala and the pilot has been jailed.

The death of football Argentine star Sala made worldwide headlines after his single-engine plane carrying him from Nantes to his new team Cardiff crashed on January 21, 2019 in the English Channel.

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It was supposed to be a flight taking him to a new life as a Premier League striker – Cardiff’s record signing and the man they hoped would fire them away from trouble in the fight against relegation.

Sala, who was unmarried, had only completed the details of his transfer two days earlier before returning to France to bid farewell to his Nantes team-mates.

Cardiff fans pay their respects outside Cardiff City Stadium to new record signing Emiliano Sala, after the plane he was travelling on from Nantes to Cardiff went missing over the English Channel, January 22nd 2019.
Cardiff fans pay their respects outside Cardiff City Stadium to new record signing Emiliano Sala, after the plane he was travelling on from Nantes to Cardiff went missing over the English Channel, January 22nd 2019. (Mark Hawkins / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

He never played for the Welsh side who bought him for a club record $A27 million.

The player was flying from Nantes to Cardiff on January 21 when the light aircraft he was aboard ran in to trouble over the English Channel close to Guernsey.

And the man who organised the flight, David Henderson, has been jailed for 18 months after a jury found him guilty of recklessly endangering the safety of an aircraft.

Henderson, 67, was accused of failing to follow safety protocols that caused the death of 28-year-old Argentine Sala and pilot David Ibbotson.

Businessman jailed after Sala crash

Last month, he was found guilty by the court of endangering the safety of the aircraft.

The body of Sala, who had signed for Cardiff City, was found a month after the crash, while Ibbotson’s has still not been recovered.

The trial heard that Ibbotson, who regularly flew for Henderson, did not hold a commercial pilot’s licence or a qualification to fly at night.

David Henderson (pictured) arrives at the Cardiff Crown Court on November 12, 2021 to be sentenced in connection with the plane crash that killed footballer Emiliano Sala.
David Henderson (pictured) arrives at the Cardiff Crown Court on November 12, 2021 to be sentenced in connection with the plane crash that killed footballer Emiliano Sala. (Photo by GEOFF CADDICK/AFP via Getty Images)

After finding out the plane had gone down, Henderson reportedly texted friends and colleagues and told them to stay quiet, a jury heard.

He warned it would "open a can of worms".

"Ibbo has crashed the Malibu and killed himself and VIP! Bloody disaster. There will be an enquiry," he texted one person, according to the court case.

Judge Mr Justice Foxton said Henderson had intentionally breached Civil Aviation Authority Regulations "for reason of profit" and was "reckless, not merely negligent."

Henderson's lawyer said his legal team will consider an appeal against his conviction and sentence.

with Reuters

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