Family launch legal action over Emiliano Sala plane crash tragedy

Andrew Reid
·4-min read
Pictured here, Emiliano Sala during his time with French club Nantes.
Emiliano Sala died after signing to play for Cardiff from French club Nantes. Pic: Getty

The family of Emiliano Sala - the Argentine football star who died in a 2019 plane crash tragedy - have launched legal action against two football clubs, according to British media.

Reports claim Sala's family are taking legal action against Cardiff City and French club Nantes after the Argentine footballer died in a plane crash two years ago.

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A single-engine plane carrying Sala from Nantes to his new team Cardiff crashed on January 21, 2019 in the English Channel.

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.

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.

The wreckage was found nearly two weeks later following a privately-funded underwater search and the 28-year-old's body was recovered three days later. The body of the plane's pilot David Ibbotson was not found.

Wreckage of the plane Emiliano Sala was travelling in and the player himself are seen in these photos.
The plane Emiliano Sala was travelling in crashed into the English channel. Image: Instagram/AFP

Thirteen defendants were named but proceedings will be delayed with David Henderson, who allegedly arranged the flight, set to stand trial in October.

"The family of Emiliano Sala are asking the coroner to fix the inquest date when she reviews matters, with a date soon after the trial of David Henderson, which has been fixed for 18 October 2021," their lawyer Daniel Machover was quoted as saying.

"In the meantime, in order to protect their legal rights and remedies arising from Emiliano's untimely death, the family have commenced civil proceedings in the high court, but will seek agreement to stay those proceedings pending the outcome of the inquest."

An official investigation by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch revealed the plane crashed after the pilot lost control and the aircraft broke up while flying too fast.

The latest legal action follows another scandal that emerged after Sala's death in 2019, which saw two security workers jailed for illegally accessing footage of his autopsy.

Pair jailed for 'wicked and evil' act

Swindon Crown Court sentenced Sherry Bray, the director of Wiltshire-based Camera Security Services Limited, and her employee, Christopher Ashford, to 14 months and five months in prison, respectively.

Prosecutors said Bray accessed the closed-circuit television camera footage from a mortuary in Bournemouth a day after Sala's body was recovered on Feb. 6.

Bray allegedly sent a message to Ashford before his night shift, saying: “There's a nice one on the table for you to watch when you're next in.”

Both Bray and Ashford replayed the clip of Sala's autopsy during separate shifts before Bray took a picture of it on her mobile phone and sent it to her daughter on Facebook Messenger, leading to it being widely shared on social media, prosecutors said.

Pictured here, Sherry Bray and Christopher Ashford outside a British court.
Sherry Bray and Christopher Ashford. Image: AAP

Bray was also accused of taking a picture of another body in the mortuary, of a man who had died in non-suspicious circumstances.

Forensic pathologist Doctor Basil Purdue said it had been a “flagrant breach of medical confidentiality.”

Sala's sister, Romina Sala, said in a statement that she had found out about the leak when she saw pictures of her brother's body on Instagram.

“I cannot believe there are people so wicked and evil who could do that,” Romina Sala's statement said.

“I'll never erase those images from my head. My brother and mother can never forget about this.”

The defendants each admitted three counts of computer misuse at the court in August. Bray also admitted to obstructing justice by deleting the photos from her phone and instructing Ashford to do the same.

with agencies

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