Report: Pilot knew of deficiencies in Sala flight

The pilot of Argentinian soccer professional Emiliano Sala, who died in a private plane crash three years ago, was aware of the machine’s defects. This emerges from a recorded phone call that the British broadcaster BBC published today.

APA/AFP/Loic Venance

“Belongs back in the hangar”

In it, the pilot David Ibbotson, who also died in the accident over the English Channel, spoke about significant defects in the plane the day before the accident. Among other things, he said that he heard a loud bang on the outward flight.

“This plane belongs back in the hangar,” he said. He usually keeps his life jacket between the seats, but this time he’ll put it on right away, Ibbotson said.

No licenses

The pilot is said to have had neither a license for commercial flights nor for night flights. The businessman who organized the flight with the single-engine aircraft has therefore already been sentenced to 18 months in prison for endangering the safety of an aircraft.

Sala was en route from Nantes, France, to Cardiff, where he was expected for the first training session with his new club, English second division club Cardiff City, following a transfer from FC Nantes. He had opted for the charter flight to have more time to say goodbye to fellow players and friends.

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