British pilot David Henderson is set to be prosecuted over the plane crash which killed Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala. Reports claim that Henderson, 66, had recruited David Ibbotson, a fellow pilot to fly Emiliano Sala from Nantes to Cardiff. Sala had spent three and a half impressive seasons at Nantes until 2019 before Cardiff City snapped him up on a club-record £15 million deal. However, the footballer was tragically killed on his way to Cardiff in a plane crash on January 21, 2019.
Earlier on Thursday, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) revealed it had charged David Henderson with two offences relating to Emiliano Sala's accident over the Channel last year. Henderson has reportedly been accused of acting in a "reckless/negligent" manner as well as being involved in the commercial use of the plane involved in the crash. According to a report in The Sun, Henderson recruited David Ibbotson in his place to fly Sala to Cardiff in the plane that crashed and although Sala's body was found four days after the crash, Ibbotson's body hasn't been discovered yet.
A man is being prosecuted over the plane crash which killed Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson last year.— Heart Wales News (@heartwalesnews) October 15, 2020
David Henderson is accused of acting in a reckless and negligent manner #HeartNews pic.twitter.com/GIoFWDFVEb
Henderson reportedly spoke to Ibbotson and asked his fellow pilot whether he wanted a 'weekend in Nantes'. It was later revealed that Henderson was also afraid to be on the plane because his bank details had been used to book the flight. Henderson appeared at the Cardiff Magistrates' Court on September 28, 2019, but was bailed out nearly a month later, on October 26.
Emiliano Sala signed a three-and-a-half-year deal with Cardiff City and completed his medical with the club on January 19, 2019. However, Sala returned to Nantes to collect his personal belongings and say goodbye to his former teammates prior to catching the doomed flight on his way back to Cardiff on January 21. Ibbotson was the pilot flying the plane which carried Sala to Nantes from Cardiff but on their way back the flight 'disappeared' near the Channel.
While on the flight, Sala recorded a WhatsApp audio message to his friends and revealed that he was 'scared' on the plane. A few days later, search parties found the wreckage from the aircraft along with Sala's remains. Nantes subsequently retired his number 9 jersey.