Family of Emiliano Sala take legal action over plane crash death

The 28-year-old Argentinian died when his plane crashed into the sea in 2019. Credit: PA Images

The family of footballer Emiliano Sala have launched legal action over his death in a plane crash two years ago.

The plane carrying the 28-year-old, who was involved in a multimillion-pound transfer from FC Nantes in France to Cardiff City FC, crashed north of Guernsey in January 2019.

The Argentinian's body was recovered the following month, but the aircraft's pilot has not been found.

David Ibbotson, 59, from Crowle, Lincolnshire, was found to be unqualified.

The family's lawyer said the High Court action has been started in order to "protect their legal rights".

Hundreds of tributes to Emiliano Sala were left outside Cardiff City Stadium. Credit: PA Images

David Henderson, who is alleged to have arranged the flight, is due to stand trial in October accused of endangering the safety of an aircraft, as well as attempting to discharge a passenger without valid permission or authorisation.

The High Court action emerged before a pre-inquest review was due to take place in Bournemouth on Wednesday into Sala's death.

Lawyer Daniel Machover, of Hickman & Rose Solicitors, said: "The family of Emiliano Sala are asking the coroner to fix the inquest date when she reviews matters, with a date soon after the trial of David Henderson, which has been fixed for October 18 2021.

"In the meantime, in order to protect their legal rights and remedies arising from Emiliano's untimely death, the family have commenced civil proceedings in the High Court, but will seek agreement to stay those proceedings pending the outcome of the inquest.

"That makes it all the more important for the inquest date to be fixed, so everyone can plan accordingly.

"Most importantly, the family know that the inquest will provide the answers to the very many questions they have about what went wrong in January 2019 and why Emiliano's life was cut short."

An investigation found pilot David Ibbotson was probably affected by carbon monoxide poisoning.

A report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch previously concluded that the aircraft carrying Sala and Mr Ibbotson suffered an in-flight break-up while being flown too fast for its design limits, and that the pilot lost control while attempting to avoid bad weather.

It added that Mr Ibbotson was probably affected by carbon monoxide poisoning.

Investigators found a contributory factor in the crash was Mr Ibbotson having no training in night flying, and a lack of recent practice in relying only on cockpit instruments to control a plane.

They also found he held a private pilot's licence that did not allow him to conduct flights for reward.