Sala crash: British police arrest pilot on ‘suspicion of manslaughter’ charge

June 20 – In an unexpected twist over the tragic death of Argentinian footballer Emiliano Sala who lost his life when a light aircraft carrying him to Cardiff two days after he signed for the club crashed into the English Channel, a  64-year-old man – who reports say is a pilot –  has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter.

The man was named in reports as David Henderson, who had apparently arranged for a fellow pilot to fly Sala on a return trip from France. David Ibbotson, who piloted the two-seater aircraft which crashed, also lost his life in the tragic accident in January. His body was never recovered.

Sala was being taken from his previous club Nantes to his new club Cardiff City, after he agreed to join the Welsh outfit for a record £15 million just days earlier. He then went back to northern France to collect his belongings and say goodbye to friends and teammates. The plane disappeared on the flight back to Wales and he never played for Cardiff, causing an outpouring of emotion at both the buying and selling clubs.

The tragedy has been mired in controversy – from the revelation that Ibbotson did not have a license to fly at night to Cardiff’s reluctance to pay the transfer fee Nantes believe they are owed. Sala’s father Horacio died of a heart attack just three months after his son perished.

The man arrested was released under investigation, with British press reports claiming he was a private pilot who worked regularly for Willie McKay, an agent linked to Sala’s transfer.

Detective Inspector Simon Huxter, who is carrying out the investigation, said in a statement:  “We have carried out a wide-ranging investigation into the circumstances of the death of Mr Sala and continue to work with partner agencies including the Civil Aviation Authority.”

“As part of this investigation we have to consider whether there is any evidence of any suspected criminality and as a result of our enquiries we have … arrested a 64-year-old man … on suspicion of manslaughter by an unlawful act. He is assisting with our enquiries and has been released from custody under investigation.”

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