66-year-old man prosecuted over Sala plane crash

The Piper Malibu aircraft Sala was in crashed over Alderney on January 21 last year. Credit: PA Images

A man is being prosecuted over the plane crash which killed Emiliano Sala.

The Piper Malibu aircraft carrying the footballer crashed over Alderney on 21 January last year. It also left its pilot David Ibbotson missing.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has charged 66-year-old David Henderson with two offences.

He is accused of acting in a "reckless/negligent" manner and being involved in the commercial use of the plane involved in the crash.

Henderson, from East Yorkshire, will appear at Cardiff Crown Court on 26 October.

The CAA confirmed a prosecution of David Henderson had begun over "offences associated with the fatal light aircraft accident over the English Channel in January 2019."

CAA director, Richard Stephenson said: "It will be inappropriate for the CAA to say anything further until the case is concluded."

The prosecution could mean the inquest into Sala's death is delayed further.

The law firm representing Sala's mother, Mercedes Taffarel, said they welcomed the prosecution but not a potential delay to the inquest.

Daniel Machover from law firm Hickman and Rose said: "Mercedes Taffarel welcomes the prosecution of David Henderson, but is disappointed that it has today resulted in what may be a further significant delay to the inquest into Emiliano's death."

"This coming January will mark two years since the plane Emiliano was travelling in crashed into the English Channel."

"His mother remains desperate to know the full truth about how this could have been allowed to happen, and urges the CAA to proceed with its criminal prosecution as swiftly as possible, so an inquest can be held to establish this, and that similar deaths are prevented."

The Argentinian footballer's body was recovered the following month but Ibbotson's has not been found.

Sala had recently completed a multi-million pound transfer from FC Nantes in France, to Cardiff City.

A report carried out by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch found that Ibbotson was "not licensed" to fly the aircraft at the time of the accident.

Ibbotson, 59, was wrongly authorised to fly aircraft at night - there was no evidence found of him completing night flying training.

It was also revealed he was paid a fee for the flight despite only having a private pilot license, which did not permit him to be paid.