Pilot Admits He Arranged Illegal Flight That Crashed Into the Channel Causing The Death of Cardiff Striker Emiliano Sala

A pilot admitted organising the flight that crashed into the Channel causing the deaths of a footballer Emiliano Sala and another pilot.

David Henderson pleaded guilty to one charge over the death of striker Emiliano Sala, 28, who was killed on the trip to Britain from his French club to join Cardiff City.

Henderson admitted that he was the operator when his plane took payment for Sala to fly “without permission or authorisation” from outside Britain.

The formal charge read: “On the 21/1/19 as the operator of aircraft registration N264DB attempted to cause N264DB an aircraft register elsewhere that the UK to discharge a passenger Emiliano Sala at Cardiff in the UK for valuable consideration without permission or authorisation.”

He is denying another charge after recruiting fellow pilot David Ibbotson, 59, as a last-minute stand-in to fly the single-engine Piper Malibu from France to Cardiff airport.

But a court has heard he allegedly did not have a commercial licence and was “not competent” to fly in bad weather.

The two-week trial is due to start tomorrow(tues) after the jury are questioned before being sworn in – including being asked if they are fans of Cardiff City.

Argentine striker Sala was on his way to the UK to play for Cardiff City in a £15m move from French side Nantes when the small plane crashed, killing both Sala and pilot Mr Ibbotson.

Sala’s body was recovered the following month, but the body of Ibbotson, of Crowle, Lincs, has not been found.

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