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  1. ITV Report

Widow of Emiliano Sala plane crash pilot hopes new poisoning evidence will clear his name

  • Video report by ITV News Sports Editor Steve Scott

The widow of the pilot who died alongside Premier League footballer Emiliano Sala in a plane crash says she hopes new evidence emerging this week will clear him of blame.

Nora Ibbotson says the memory of husband David had been tarnished for months following the accident which saw the light aircraft plunge into the Channel as the pair flew to England.

At the time, it was speculated the crash could have been down to pilot error, the weather or the air-worthiness of the aircraft.

But this week, investigators revealed Sala was exposed to harmful levels of carbon monoxide before he was killed and it is likely Mr Ibbotson - whose body has never been found - was also affected.

Now Mrs Ibbotson says the truth is emerging: "I always said that things would come out in the end - and now they are coming out six months later."

Nora Ibbotson says she has had to stay strong for her husband's memory. Credit: ITV

The theory is the deadly gas leaked into the cockpit, disabling the pilot and his passenger.

Mrs Ibbotson told Good Morning Britain: "It is a relief because there was a problem and it was out of David's control.

"He could not smell it. He could not see it. If he knew, he would not have flown it."

Sala and Mr Ibbotson died as they flew from France on January 21 to the UK where the striker was to join then-Premier League club Cardiff City.

The plane wreckage and Sala's body have been found - but not Mr Ibbotson. Credit: AAIB

The AAIB said the gas can "reduce or inhibit a pilot’s ability to fly an aircraft depending on the level of that exposure".

The report added it was working with the aircraft and engine manufacturers and the National Transportation Safety Board in the US "to identify possible pathways through which CO might enter the cabin of this type of aircraft.

"Work is also continuing to investigate pertinent operational, technical, organisational and human factors which might have contributed to the accident."