Death of Emiliano Sala: the operator of the flight found guilty of endangerment by the British justice

David Henderson had to fly the aircraft. But he had finally given the orders to David Ibbotson, which was not competent to fly at night.

The operator of the theft that claimed the life of Argentinian footballer Emiliano Sala in 2019 was found guilty on Thursday (October 28) of endangerment by a court in Wales. David Henderson, 67, had been on trial since October 18 in Cardiff. After more than seven hours of deliberation, the popular jury declared him guilty and his sentence is due on November 12. He faces five years in prison.

David Henderson was originally supposed to fly the aircraft. While on vacation in Paris with his wife, he finally entrusted this mission to David Ibbotson, who died in the accident. But the latter did not have a commercial pilot’s license, his qualification for this type of aircraft had expired and he was not competent to fly at night.

During his argument, his lawyer Stephen Spence denied that David Henderson had acted in such a way “reckless”, asserting that the breaches of the regulations alleged against his client were “purely a matter of paperwork”.

The small private plane aboard which the Argentinian player and the pilot David Ibbotson were aboard crashed in the English Channel on January 21, 2019. The FC Nantes striker was joining the Cardiff City club, where he had just been transferred for 17 million euros. The disappearance of the player had moved the world of football.

In its final report published in March 2020, the British Aviation Accident Investigation Bureau estimated that the pilot lost control of the aircraft during a maneuver performed at too high a speed, “probably” intended to avoid bad weather.

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