Pilot & Plane Carrying Emiliano Sala Did Not Have Required Licences to Fly Commercially

A report into the plane crash which killed Emiliano Sala in January 2019 has revealed that the incident occurred after the plane flew too fast for its design, while the plane and pilot David Ibbotson were not licensed for commercial flights.

Cardiff City had agreed a club-record £15m deal to sign Sala from Nantes, but the plane carrying him never made it to Wales and crashed over the English Channel. Sala's body was found days later, but Ibbotson's body was never located.


Over a year after the crash, the ​Air Accidents Investigation Branch have released their report into the incident, confirming that the aircraft was not fit to fly at the speeds which it was clocked at shortly before the crash.

Ibbotson, who is thought to have been affected by carbon monoxide poisoning stemming from an exhaust fault while the plane was in the air, performed a turn at such a speed that the plane began to break apart. 

The plane was not in accordance with modern safety standards, meaning Ibbotson would not have been aware of carbon monoxide poisoning in time to do anything about it.

It is also noted that neither the pilot nor the plane had the required licence to operate commercial fights. Ibbotson had not been trained to fly overnight and his licence to fly a single-engine piston aeroplane had expired three months before the accident.

While making the initial journey from Cardiff to Nantes to collect Sala, Ibbotson reported various issues with the plane, including an oil leak and issues with the brakes, although it is important to note that none of these issues contributed to the fatal crash.

​Cardiff spokesperson told ​Sky Sports News"We welcome the publication of the AAIB report, an important step in understanding the full facts surrounding this tragedy.


"It is a detailed and technical piece of work which, whilst apportioning no blame or liability, raises a number of questions which we hope will be addressed during the inquest recommencing next week.

"We are determined to read that the CAA is determined to tackle illegal activities by pursuing those involved, it is a practice which must be stopped and we hope the industry will be supported in order to prevent this tragedy happening again."

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Source : 90min