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Pilot in Emiliano Sala Crash Lacked Business License

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LONDON — The pilot of a small airplane that crashed into the English Channel final yr, killing the Argentine soccer participant Emiliano Sala, was not licensed to fly commercially, and neither was the plane, investigators mentioned in a report launched on Friday.

Mr. Sala, 28, had been flying from France to Wales with David Ibbotson as his pilot to play for Cardiff Metropolis of the English Premier League when the airplane vanished on the night of Jan. 21, 2019. The soccer participant’s physique was recovered a month later, and the pilot’s physique has by no means been discovered.

The report launched on Friday from Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Department concluded that the pilot had no coaching in evening flying and had been out of shape in instrument flying — or navigating utilizing solely the airplane’s instruments — and misplaced management of the plane earlier than it plunged into the ocean.

“The affect with the ocean was not survivable,” the report famous.

On the time, Mr. Ibbotson, 59, was most certainly attempting to show the airplane, a Piper Malibu, to keep away from unhealthy climate, the report mentioned, concluding that the plane was touring at a pace “considerably in extra of its design maneuvering pace.”

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Mr. Ibbotson “was not certified to fly the plane on the time of the accident,” the report mentioned. “Neither the pilot nor plane had the required licenses or permissions to function commercially.”

Although the pilot was anticipating to be paid, his personal license didn’t allow him to conduct business flights. The only-engine, propeller-driven airplane was additionally purported to be operated for personal use solely and nobody had sought the related permissions to permit it to fly commercially, the report mentioned.

“The plane was not being operated in accordance with security requirements relevant to business operations,” the report mentioned.

Earlier, the investigation had mentioned that the soccer player suffered carbon monoxide poisoning in the crash. The report released on Thursday confirmed that Mr. Ibbotson had probably also been affected by the poisonous gas, most likely caused by a fault in the exhaust tailpipe that allowed gas to leak through to the cabin via the heating system.

It also found that the aircraft had not been fitted with a carbon-monoxide detector, which might have alerted the pilot in time for him to take action.

In a statement, Mr. Sala’s family said it was still distraught by his death, “but determined to find the full truth of how and why he died.”

The statement, issued by its lawyer, Javier Canosa, said the report “leaves many questions for the inquest to address. It is crucial that the information held by the police and which went into compiling this report now be made available to the coroner and in turn to the family.”

Before the plane vanished over the English Channel, Mr. Sala sent an audio message in which he said “I’m so afraid,” and warned that the aircraft “seems like it’s falling to pieces.”

Mr. Sala had scored more league goals than any other Argentine player in Europe’s major leagues. He had been in Nantes, France, on the day of the flight to say goodbye to his teammates in the French league, according to The Guardian, and had been scheduled to start training with Cardiff City.

His death prompted an outpouring of grief by soccer fans and his team.

On the anniversary of Mr. Sala’s death, another lawyer for the player’s relatives said they would mark it in “private, quiet contemplation of their loss.”

“The family’s primary concern remains for the full inquest to take place as soon as possible, so that they can finally learn the truth about what happened and ensure that no family has to suffer a similar preventable loss of a loved one,” the lawyer, Daniel Machover of Hickman and Rose solicitors, said in January.

While both clubs paid tribute to Mr. Sala on the anniversary of his death, a fight over payment for his transfer had been brewing for months.

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