Emiliano Sala poisoned by car exhaust before dying in Channel plane crash

Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala was “deeply unconscious” after being poisoned by car exhaust before dying of serious head and chest injuries in a plane crash in 2019, a jury has found.

Sala died when the single-engine Piper Malibu plane he was traveling in crashed in the English Channel. He was flying to join his new team, Cardiff, in Wales after signing with French club Nantes.

The jury, at an inquest at Bournemouth Town Hall, found that the plane’s pilot, David Ibbotson, lacked the authority to fly at night.

The plane disintegrated when it crashed into the sea. Mr Ibbotson’s body was never found.

“Severe poisoning”

Pathologist Basil Purdue said Sala suffered “severe poisoning” due to a buildup of carbon monoxide inside the cabin due to the plane’s faulty exhaust system and that he was said to have been “deeply unconscious” before the plane crashed.

Dr Purdue said Sala was still alive at the time of impact and died from serious head and chest injuries.

Pilot and businessman David Henderson managed the aircraft on behalf of its owner and arranged the flights, pilots and maintenance, although he was not the legally registered operator.

Henderson was sentenced in November to 18 months in prison, having already been found guilty by a majority verdict of endangering the safety of an aircraft.

He had previously admitted to committing a separate offense by attempting to offload a passenger without valid permission or authorization.